Cars, Compromises, and That Oh-so-fantastic Feeling of Rightness

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Sorry for the lack of posting recently. My excuses are as follows:

(a) Pregnancy, a.k.a. My Current Excuse for Everything.

(b) Over Memorial Weekend we were at a condo with even less internet access than it usually gets (maybe more people using the bandwidth?). I couldn’t even log in to WordPress.

(c) Before that, we literally spent 25 hours doing nothing but eating, sleeping, and car shopping.

For those who have never experienced buying a “family” car, basically the word of the day is compromise. Weeks and months and years of compromising.

To begin with, I would be okay with a mini-van. They aren’t my favorite thing, but for hauling around kids, they’ve got the best features around. Dave however is vigilantly anti–mini-van. So the very first thing we compromised on was a crossover.

Three summers ago we bought the smallest size of crossover because it was all we could afford. This year, with Kid 3 on the way, it was time to bump up to a mid-sized one.

We researched for weeks and two models seemed the roomiest. Of those, I liked the Chevy Traverse; he liked the latest Honda Pilot. I think the latest Pilots are too boxy; he thinks the Traverse looks too mini-van–shaped.

mini-van–resembling Traverse driven by mysterious man in sunglasses

boxy-but-awesome-colored newer-model Pilot photographed on asphalt wetted to look like a lake despite dry, desert background (??)

We compromised on the older model Pilot, which was more affordable anyway.

Then came 25 hours of insanity: going to dealerships to see, touch, smell, size up, sit in, and drive the cars.

Salesman: “So what colors are you thinking?”

Dave and me simultaneously: “Black,” and “Anything but black.”

Thus ensued hours and hours of frustration. We’d find one that I liked but he didn’t, one that he liked that I didn’t, one that the salesman thought we should like that neither of us did, etc, etc.

Finally we hooked up with the world’s greatest car salesman (shout out to Brandon at Ken Garff Honda, downtown SLC!) who patiently pulled up a list of every silver 2007 Pilot EX from Ogden to Orem (an hour north of Salt Lake and an hour south) and showed us the computer screen.

The minute we saw it, we both got zapped.

Dave looked at me and said, “Whoa. Did you feel that?” I swear we both became teary-eyed we were so relieved. We’d finally found the right car and we knew it instantly. And our fantastic salesman drove up to Ogden himself to get it for us.

I was too lazy to go take a picture of the one in our garage, so here's a Google-searched version

Moral of the story: when there’s bound to be a “right” choice eventually, you just have to keep looking until it zaps you with its perfection.

Settling is not an option.

And of course, the same thing applies to writing a novel. Laugh all you want, but I’ve noticed that even though I’m the author, often the story seems to have a mind of its own simply because I can tell when I’m headed the right direction and when I’m not.

The right path is full of awesome zaps where story elements click into place so fantastickly that you type with absolute giddiness.

The wrong path is full of dead ends and crap shoots, and you type with the depressing certainty that you will eventually be rewriting that whole section.

Plus also (as my younger sister would say), the right path is found through compromise. I loved the blue Pilot, Dave loved the black ones, but silver turned out to be our best choice.

another Googled photo I can't take credit for: Shannon at The King's English bookstore holding a novel that may or may not be the one referred to in this post (okay, it is)

My neighbor Shannon Hale told me how in one of her books her editor wanted her to take out a certain character because he didn’t really serve any purpose in the novel.

Having read that book of hers, I was shocked. “How could she want you to take him out? He was so key to the story and one of my favorite characters!” 

She laughed and said it was thanks to her editor pointing it out that he became that way. Shannon didn’t feel right about taking him out, so she compromised by giving him a purpose, making him an integral part of the plot.

It satisfied her, her editor, and even me as a reader: a perfect resolution.

What fantastic zaps of rightness have you had? Do you think there’s always such a thing as a “best” choice if you keep looking long enough?

Leave a comment!

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8 responses »

  1. Great post, and I love the Pilot. As for good zaps while writing, hmmm have I had any of those? I just killed a guy and it felt pretty good. I don’t really know what that says about me.

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  2. Yeah, I’ve had that feeling a few times. Once when I asked if Stephanie was to be my wife. Others with the children and buying the condo. The most recent with my career choice.
    That one took years of trying and searching and hoping and praying. It wasn’t until…never mind – that story takes a bit of telling (see my blog for details). Anyway, it was absolutely one of those feels-right experiences.

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    • I’m always so grateful for that feeling! Dave put it like this: “It doesn’t necessarily mean something has to be a certain way but just that you’re on the right track and it’s all going to work out.”

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  3. Hi Nikki!
    You are pregnant?!? When will this little dear be born? Which sex (if you care to share)? Regarding the car: really pretty hard to look totally smokin’ in ANY car full of children.

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    • Yep! Sorry, I told Courtney and Diana and should have passed the news on to you as well. It’s a third little boy, due September 7th.

      And yeah, kids make it tough for anything to look cool. They can’t even leave the decorative pillows on the couches, so I’ve given up on home decor, etc.

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