Sunday, November 07, 2010

musings on brothers and cars

i am in the middle of a situation with my brother and i've been thinking a lot the past few days about the complexities of the brother-sister relationship. even when people say "i love him like a brother", no you don't. you can't possibly understand it unless you have a brother.

the situation is that we are buying a used car of a certain make and year, and he happens to be an expert on the level of Steve (steve, will you comment and disput this?) at BMWs, so i had been asking for his help and advice. he lives in san diego and at the same time as i found a car in LA worth looking at, which had a few problems which we could fix for about $700. he found one in san diego of the same year and model, similar mileage, but with no known mechanical problems. his car was grey, the one in los angeles was dark blue, so for simplicity, we shall refer to them from here on out as "the blue car" and "the grey car". anyway, he was also looking for a car for his girlfriend, and he decided that this grey car was a great deal, and sound, etc. and it would be perfect for either of us. so he bought it, we didn't make a move on the blue car, waited to hear if his girlfriend liked it and if she would take it, or not.

unexpectedly, the blue car's owner called and said she was willing to let us have it for $700 less if we were still interested, but we needed to let her know in the next day or so, and if not, she would relist it. meanwhile, word from san diego was that my brother's girlfriend liked the car and was "90% leaning towards keeping it". i hadn't seen the grey car, and we decided to go for the blue one, so we called our mechanic, dave, and the car's owner, and set up a monday appointment for dave to inspect the car and give us his estimate for fixing the power steering pump and window motor.

then later that day, my brother called with the news that we could have the grey car, because his girlfriend didn't want it. she had decided she did not want a 4 door car because she would "feel like someone's mother". (i AM actually someone's mother so 4 doors is a requirement for me!) i told him thanks, but we were already planning to buy the blue car, unless dave found any unforeseen major problems with it.

little brother was not happy with this news, and was now stuck with another car (i should mention he has 1 parking space in his garage, and has his girlfriend's Bug, his old BMW convertible and his new BMW all parked there, playing musical chairs in his condo's guest parking spaces).

then ryan found out i told peter no on the grey car, and suddenly decided maybe the grey car was the better choice, and that anyway, it wasn't worth upsetting my brother over, for the sake of familial relations, etc. so he called him up and my brother agreed to wait until monday, after dave's report, to do anything about selling the grey car, so we could have it if we didn't like the blue one.

we then went down to san diego to look at the grey car. it was okay, everything worked that was supposed to work, and it only had 1 owner who kept very anal records about every repair, but it also had very worn seats and some sizeable dings and dents in the doors. the grey color was so blah. it looked shabby compared to the blue car. but i agreed to drive it and test it and consider it. we drove it and i immediately noticed that it pulled to the right slightly. my dad, brother and ryan were all in the car with me and the theory was floated that maybe all of the weight was unevenly distributed, causing the pull, because it wasn't pulling before. anyway, it also didn't seem to have as much pep as our black car, but then again we have a sport model and also don't usually drive with 4 adults in the car.

my brother replaced a vaccuum hose and then after that when we test drove it, it was shaking a bit when it was idling. not good. anyway, so we left the car in san diego and then when i got the report from dave about the blue car, the positives seemed to outweigh the negatives. we decided to get the blue car and go ahead with the repairs. earlier in the day, i'd talked to my brother about what dave said, and told him how we were deciding, and asked him what he would do if we didn't want the grey car. he told me he could either convince his girlfriend that she does want it, or could probably sell it for more than he paid for it.

when i called to tell him that we were buying the blue car, he sounded so disappointed. he just said "oh" and then was silent for a bit. and kind of sighed. so now i am feeling so guilty that he has one more thing to deal with unloading this other car. it's funny, as a child, i probably got joy out of the minor tribulations of my brother. i must have, i remember tattling on him and being delighted if he got in trouble (as he was for me). but at some point that all changed. now i don't want him to even suffer any mild discomfort, even for a moment. i can even remember the exact moment when i realizedmy feelings had changed. he was in college and he got in a street fight with some townies from new haven, defending a girl he was walking with. they ganged up on him and punched him, breaking his nose. when he called to tell me about it, i was so mad. i wanted to get on a plane and find each of these people and kick them in the crotch. no really. i was furious.

my mom grew up with an annoying little brother, too, and for her, the moment she grew up and out of the bickering part of their relationship was when he was about 10 and got in a serious car accident and was in a coma. she told herself that if he ever recovered, she would be nice to him forever. he made it out and went on to become one of my favorite uncles. :)

anyway, back to my brother-we are very, very different people in a million ways. i'm more like my dad and he's more like my mom. he love to play golf and soccer and team sports and i love sports i can do by myself. but in weird little ways, we have things in common. loving black olives and good italian food. shopping deals online (but he has WAY surpassed me in his bargain hunting!). figuring out how to break bad news to mom (phone call i got in college:"i crashed mom's car, how should i tell her?"). being sad when the dog died. (but dealing with it in different ways, him not showing it and me getting teary eyed).

anyway, because he is just like my mom, i know that if he is sad/mad/disappointed in me for not taking the grey car he went to so much trouble to get, that he might be upset about it for a day or so, but he will get over it.

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