Friday, April 17, 2009

The Buddhist Car Sale

photo by Liz Grover

I had absolutely no use for my 2002 Hyundai Accent. My husband and I can only park one car at our residence here in downtown Portland. I walk everywhere anyway, because I like the exercise and absorbing all the images, sounds and smells of Portland's funky, offbeat and aesthetically pleasing street culture. Additionally, buying fuel is flat out unsustainable for our planet. It was always time consuming to get to my car too. I left it parked at my friend's house, which took an hour to reach by light rail and bus.

Finally, I thought hard, assessed what was really important and decided to give up the car. There were some "what ifs" that flashed in my head, but I took the leap of faith, that it would all work out--even without a car--as it always does in my life. I posted the Hyundai on Craig's List on a Friday.

I checked my email, browsed on Twitter, and chipped away at the final writing of my book. Thirty minutes went by. I went back to my email where there was a response of interest from Craig's List. Then another, and another until I had fifteen people interested in my car.

This was encouraging, especially with all the economic worry on people's minds. I didn't get too excited though. I've sold cars on Craig's List before and it was always a pain. In all my previous experiences, people would always try to talk me down on a car that I also sold for too little, or say they were interested, tell me that they were coming to look at the car at a certain time and date, and then turn out to be a no-show. Without exaggerating, this no-show crap happened to me about five times in the past.

Out of all the interested buyers for the Hyundai, one guy (we'll call him Rick) said please hold on to the car. I'll buy it today. "Yeah, whatever" I thought. I've heard that song and dance before, yet at the same time, I didn't let my mind go too much into that, just in case he was for real. I didn't want my expectations to get in the way, and after all, I am the creator of my reality. I can manifest what I want. Rick did sound more serious than other interested shoppers and the idea of showing my car ten to fifteen times did give me a shiver, so I decided to make a deal. I told him that if he was really serious, I would hold off showing the car to others until after he viewed it. Rick thanked me and we arranged to meet the following day.

On Saturday, I made the trek out to my car with all intentions to sell it then and there. I told myself over and over again that this would be a great sale, I would get the price that I wanted to sell it for, and that the buyer would be a cool and honest guy. I thanked the universe for helping to make this happen.

I got to my friend's house where the car was parked a little early. I knocked on the door where my friend Sherry greeted me and we chatted about the weather, life, and the usual until I realized that Rick was ten minutes late. My mind wanted to say, "Oh no! Not again! That darned Craig's List!", but I didn't. Enough of my mind and heart believed that Rick was just caught in traffic and that he really would show up. Much to my delight, he pulled up five minutes later.

Rick warmly greeted me. He apologized for being late and I told him not to worry. He said he was an artist and that's why he wanted the car. It was a hatchback so he could easily throw his stretched canvass inside. He actually had a Hyundai that he worked on before, so he knew what to look for. He circled the car inside and out and was happy with everything he saw. He was even shocked with how great the tires were and told me he thought he would probably have to buy new tires for the car. He was relieved that it wasn't the case.

He popped the hood and began to survey the engine. He said the inside was perfect from a first glance, but he wanted to check the timing belt. That, as he said would "seal the deal". He had a wrench with him and removed three bolts off the case that held the timing belt, but he couldn't remove the fourth bolt. Realizing what he needed, he went to his car to find a different sized wrench. He delved and burrowed through his tool box for ten minutes until he found the perfect wrench. He thought it was kind of trippy because it didn't match the rest of his tools. He said that he had never seen it before and wondered where it came from.

Finally, he removed the case to see that the timing belt was in mint condition. The only thing remaining was the road test. We got out on the highway and the car was zippy as usual. The alignment was perfect and Rick said he was ready to buy for the price that I had said on Craig's List. He never tried to talk me down. It was the used car sale from a dream, but I pinched myself hard just to make sure that I wasn't really in bed.

We chatted on as he drove. He told me that he was raised off the grid in a hippie family in San Francisco. I told him about my book about my travels that I'm working on. I even told him the title. I can't publicly say what it is at this point, but the word "Butterfly" is definitely in there. I'll give you that much :) He pulled over to an auto parts store to buy some oil for the car, which I sheepishly told him that I forgot to fill. Just as we got out of the car, a butterfly flew right in front of us. We both thought is was weird, but didn't have to say it. The looks on our faces said it all.

We bought the oil. He drove me back to my friend's house and told me that he was so happy how I was honest and didn't try to cheat him like so many car sellers on Craig's List had tried to do to him. I told him how happy I was that he actually showed up, and that he didn't try to talk me down on the price. It was serendipitous. He told me how "It's a miracle that this sale went so smooth, but this perfection seems to happen to me more and more, especially now that I'm going to this Buddhist center in town. It's weird."

I said "That's funny, because I originally came to Portland after a Buddhist monk in the Himalayas told me to come here. I didn't know anyone here, but it was the third time that Portland came up in random conversations I had in France, Thailand and Nepal over the course of six months, so I decided to listen to him." He quirked his head, and said that he was happy it worked out this way and that he would love to read my book.

What a reality I live in. A Buddhist car sale! Who would have thought? What will I create next. Can't wait to see :)


Jim said...

recently found your writings, videos. Intrigued. Looking forward to the book.


Liz Grover said...

Thanks Jim. I'll post a blog here when it's published-if you subscribe to this blog, you'll know right away.

Liz Grover