Oh, Baby, I Didn’t Know I Cared

Another's treasure unwittingly can become yours, too | Jane Esaki photo

Another’s treasure unwittingly can become yours, too | Jane Esaki photo

A lot of people think their car is a classic. It’s their baby, so it makes sense.

One such car was sitting in my yard, but because it wasn’t mine, it was merely a rusting hunk of metal taking up valuable real estate. So when it came to selling it, I was happy to get rid of it as cheaply and quickly as possible, hopefully before the registration expired.

I got on Craigslist, posted a description and photos and waited for inquiries. In the blink of an eye, I received my first email response. The inquirer was a car enthusiast from Oahu who was very familiar with this 1987 car — not just with the particular make and model, but that exact car. In fact, he was interested in it before the current owner bought it ahead of him. What a small world!

I sent him additional unadulterated photos, disclosing as much as I was aware of the car’s condition. Meanwhile, other inquiries poured in and I updated him about this development. In writing, he encouraged me to work with him, that he will take time off during the week to fly over and purchase the car. I trusted him, his timely responses being straightforward, thoughtful and courteous.

Then came the inevitable snag: He couldn’t get off of work right away and he’d have to sell his own car first. It was disappointing, but I realized the best-laid plans of mice and men do oft go awry. Plus, the other inquirers didn’t love the car; they just wanted something inexpensive, running and they were too concerned about the rust. The final straw was when a scammer texted me via phone and left a bad taste in my mouth. Bird in hand, I maintained communication with the first inquirer.

As a show of good faith, he offered to buy the car, sight unseen, for more than the asking price and promised to try to seal the deal before the registration expired. Every step of the way, he conscientiously updated the sale of his car, his work status, flight reservations and shipping plans.

For a whopping 20 days, I saw him go through the hoops, and his love for the car became contagious. In fact, I must admit, there were fleeting thoughts: What am I doing nearly giving away this classic car? Maybe I should take on the project myself.

But, of course, that’s ridiculous. I really don’t have the time, money or inclination. And this guy would really deserve the car if he came through.

The moment came when he stepped out of the taxi, shook my hand, test-drove it for a mere five minutes, signed the documents and paid me what he promised. Before he drove off with the car, I found myself asking if he could send me pictures, and that I’d like to see what the car looks like when he’s done with it.

I can’t believe I asked him to do that.

I guess parting had become such sweet sorrow. The car had become my baby, too.