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Cinnamon patrol

Mr and Mrs Lili Wedding


The cost of living (as measured in second hand Japanese cars)

How much does one month of short term accommodation in a fully-furnished apartment in the Dublin city centre cost? More or less exactly one fairly tidy 1990 Toyota Starlet GT Turbo as it turns out. So it was lucky for us that our 17-year old car is lusted after by many a young boy racer.

I decided to sell it on Trade Me using an auction. In the ad, I put my cell phone number in case anyone wanted to contact me to drop buy and check out the goods. Unbeknownst to me, I had attracted the attentions of large community of Toyota Startlet GT Turbo lovers, and they all clamored to call and text me at once. "How much do I want?", they would ask. "It's an auction - you're supposed to bid on it" I would say shortly followed by "No, I will not accept that cash offer unless you forgot a zero on the end."

Early in the afternoon, one Gerhard* (not real name) phoned to ask if he could look at the vehicle. He asked after my address which I gave him. He then asked if I could meet him half-way up Dominion Rd. No I told him, I can't. So he made plans to come and see me. A few hours later he phoned me to say he was directly outside my apartment to which I said, "Great, press button #18," to which he replied "are you on the corner of [insert random street names here]" to which I gave an emphatic "No." A short while late he called again to say he was now actually outside my apartment building, so I went down to see him. As I went outside I could see he was in the process of convincing some poor young lady he'd met on the street, my street, to give him her telephone number. Things did not look promising.

"Where is the car?" he asked. "In the carpark" I replied. Such was the character of the banter between us. I had decided that I would take Gerhard for an initial test drive to show him the capabilities of the car; specifically 1st and 2nd gear so that, duly appeased, he would then not feel the need to race around and put my life at risk. So I did that, and then we swapped, and he was fairly subdued except that he decided to turn left off a busy street without indicating when he was being tailed by a fast-moving bus. I closed my eyes.

After some protracted negotiations, Gerhard on behalf of his boy-cousin, and I, came to an agreement. I would withdraw the auction from Trade Me and Gerhard's cousin would pick up the car in a couple of Saturdays, just before we leave. He gave me a deposit. I gave him a detailed receipt. He asked for more detail, I provided it. This happened a few times. Soon the receipt read more like a novella. I was quite pleased with the plot - it had a strong narrative - Laura would have approved.

Unfortunately there was a problem withdrawing the auction from Trade Me and although no one could bid on it, and it said -"This auction has been withdrawn" - my phone number was still visible. So into the evening and the next day it went - *beep* *beep* "hi giv u 1500 cash for starlet", etc, etc.

I was originally going to talk about how expensive Dublin was, but I think the moral of the story is: always buy a sporty car because it's easy to sell it again. And fun to drive. I will miss you fairly tidy 1990 Toyota Starlet GT Turbo.

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Blogger Violet Says:

It sounds like you got a good price for it anyway. I sold my Honda on TradeMe and probably didn't get as much for it as it was worth. But then, it wasn't exactly a sporty car...


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