I forgot to tell you--my friend Caroline bought a car. That's not the story. The car she ended up with is a perfectly fine Honda, blue, low mileage, kind of choppy ride but solid and reliable. Before that, though, she almost got shafted by a creep. The creep posted a really splendid '98 Saturn sedan on craigslist for suspiciously cheap. Caroline called me that evening and said "I think I've been really stupid, I'm obsessing."
She hadn't been stupid, of course. The creepy stuff only started happening AFTER she'd given him a $600 cash deposit on the splendid car. He didn't write out a proper receipt, couldn't come up with the proper VIN to do a check, acted shifty. He told her that a New Jersey title for a car with North Carolina plates that wasn't in his name would be accepted by the New York DMV, no problem. She called the DMV and there was a problem, the problem being that they wouldn't accept it, period. Caroline was really upset. She asked if I would go with her to get her money back.
Oh, woo-hoo, a Confrontation. I got dressed up. I wore my purple silk calico dress with a shawl collar, my new burgundy clogs, and tasteful feminine jewelry. I put my hair in a twist and wore lipstick. I drove Caroline to the appointed assignation zone, having carefully coached her not to mention anything amiss until we had the bastard cornered.
He was a creep, all right. As soon as Caroline said, "I'm having second thoughts," he got belligerent. Said he wasn't giving her money back, had turned away customers for her, blah duh blah duh. Caroline was gentle with him. I wasn't. "You are doing something ILLEGAL. Give her her money or she will make your life hell," I told him. "You stay out of this, sir, I mean ma'am, I'm talking to HER," said the creep.
Ha! Did you hear that? He called me "sir!" We won, of course. Got every penny. I can't tell you what a milestone this is, for me. Getting older has its advantages. Back in my teens and twenties I used to crumple when confronting creeps; they used to run right over me, get all my money, reduce me to tears and trembling. This one didn't even make me flinch. I'm getting to recognize and understand creep tactics, and to despise them, and to dominate them. Sir, indeed.