Coming to America 8


Nursing has always has always held a certain charm for me as... a) You can always get a job and, b) You can always work overtime if you need extra money. It’s not uncommon for a nurse to calculate the number of shifts vs. the dollar amount of what it would take to purchase a little sumpin'-sumpin'. It’s just our way.

Hospital and unit orientation was finished and I started working on the 3pm to 11pm shift. Overtime shifts were not hard to come by so I would frequently work 16-hour shifts “doubles” in order to save for my down payment.

Within a few weeks, I had the cash in hand and called Mr. Bittner to tell him. Enthusiastically, he replied, "Go find yourself a car!” Easier said than done. Since I didn’t have a car, I didn't have a way to go find one. I thanked him for his help but before I hung up the phone, he asked “Do you have a way to get out and find a car?" Not only was he kind, he was psychic. “No, sir” I replied. Mr. Bittner then offered up his son, Danny to me. Danny was a salesman for a used car dealership. He told me that his son would call me and arrange to pick me up and take me to his car lot the upcoming weekend.

On Saturday morning, a very handsome Danny came by as arranged and brought me to his dealership. He started his sales pitch in the show room. The cars inside were so shiny and new but a lot more expensive than what I could afford. “Your Dad told me that I can only spend $4,000.00 – including tax, title and license” I said. With that, an obviously dejected Danny walked way into the back lot. It was there that he introduced me to a baby blue 1979 Ford Pinto with racing stripes, standard transmission and no air conditioning.

Danny: “$4000.00 even.”
Me: “No, I don’t think so, I need A/C”
Danny: “OK, I’ll throw in after-market A/C”
Me: “Yeah but your Dad said I could only spend a total of $4000.00”
Danny: “OK, let me cut you a deal for $3500.00”
Me: “Thanks but I don’t know how to drive a standard."
Danny: “I’ll tell you what, you buy this car and I will come over to your place every day for a week, take you back here and teach you how to drive a stick.”
Me: "A what?"
Danny: (perplexed) "A stick - a car with standard transmission."
Me: “OK”

Tragically, Ford Pintos were known to explode after minor rear end collisions and thousands of people were killed or severely injured as a result. A national inquest had been in progress for several years and if I had thought to watch the nightly news or pick up a newspaper and read the headlines on occasion, I too would have known about this serious problem. I don't think that Danny was intentionally putting me in harm's way as I doubt he had watched the news or picked up a newspaper in a while either. He was just 'moving the inventory' and was most likely was encouraged to get rid of the Pintos.

Remaining clueless, I excitedly accepted the terms of our deal.   Part 9: Stylin' in My Pinto

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Perle said...

Pinto flashback. Had a brand new one in early 70's. Drove it til it died of neglect. Didn't know enough to change the oil. got a mustang after that and took better care.
Like your writing - just read all of Harlan and now this series.
Thanks for the laughs and a look at us thru a Canadian's eyes.
Perle (ex-pat Texan)