Tuesday, September 2, 2003

Encounters with the free market: part 3
(or “peculiar moments in male bonding”)

So I while ago I mentioned the terrifying prospect of selling my car, and that dream-buyer Steve turned up on the first day and we agreed on a price of $9,600 and he put down a cash deposit.

The sale went ahead the following Monday, now two weeks ago. I popped home on a tram to meet Steve, as agreed, at 11 at my place. Steve worked in fleet logistics for his company, so he knew what needed doing. He’d already checked out the registration and the fact that there was no outstanding loan on the car.

He left me his car and car keys, while he scooted off to run it over the pits and get a roadworthy. I popped down to Vic Roads to get the transfer of ownership paperwork.

“Get two copies,” said Steve, “in case we stuff one up.”

He returned, we duly stuffed up one transfer form and set to work on the other. A few phone calls later, he had the car insured. My only involvement at this point was keeping Muchka the cat out of Steve’s lap.

The weirdish moment was getting the bank cheque. There was visible, stifled man-to-man emotion in the lobby of the National Bank on Sydney road.

He (a family man) was parting with what was for him, and I was taking what was for me, a large sum of money.

I (a tie-less twenty-something) was parting with, and he was taking my – admittedly kinda girly –’99 Toyota Echo so his wife could ferry their boys around Melbourne’s outer ‘burbs.

The money, and the car, were both not small things for we menfolk. We shook hands and parted, complimenting each other on how easy it was to do business with someone fair and friendly.

“Doug, you’ve been a gentleman.”

I crossed the road to avoid walking Steve back to my (now his) car. It somehow seemed – awkward. Our bloke-to-bloke business was done.

I considered tucking the cheque into my moleskine, but in the end just held it firmly in my hand the hundred meter walk to my bank, where I deposited it along with the sales proceeds from the auction of my wardrobe.

I was hoping for at least a gratifying wide-eyed blink from the teller when I deposited a sum of money certainly adding up to the largest banking transaction of my life – but no, nothing. Not a flicker crossed her countenance.

Still, the important thing is that I didn’t drop the cheque and have it blow away down the road …

I now feel gratifyingly, falsely rich. Overall, I lost money on both the car (inevitable) and the wardrobe (disappointing) but am now far more “liquid” than I’ve ever been. I suppose I should do something sensible like invest some of this money for when I get back, if one can invest the piddling sums I’ll have left after setting holiday and beer-in-England money aside.

What’s been your scariest financial transaction?

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