Elephant In My Coffee
My Birthday Party
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My Birthday Party

“Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday to me…” I hum to myself as I shower. Today’s my birthday. I am 18 today. My parents are giving me a car as a present and a party with a private catering Melbourne.

Several months back, my mom asked over dinner how I’d like my coming-out party would be arranged. She’s happiest when she’s planning parties, organizing events or even simple family gatherings. She says it’s never too early to start planning for my debut. I nearly choked on the cauliflower I was attempting to chew. Who celebrates their 18th birthday with a debut these days? I imagined the horrors of dancing to a cotillion wearing a frilly long dress to a tune reserved mostly for funerals. Ugh, I shuddered. 

“Mom, Dad, you know it’s not very practical to have a big debut party these days. Why don’t you guys buy me a really cool present with the budget intended for the party?”

“What exactly do you have in mind?” Dad asked skeptically. “A car?” I ventured.

My dad looked at me with his indulgent smile. “Honey, the money for your party won’t be enough to buy a new car.”

I feel an easy victory with how the conversation is going. “But, I don’t need a brand new car, Dad. A second hand car would do.” I decided to grease it up a bit. “A brand new car would not be practical. I only need a car that would take me to and from school and home. We also need to step up a bit in making me prove I’m responsible, right?”

“Alright, but you have to do all the hard work. You seek out the right car and learn how to validate a vehicle safety certificate. You also need to learn how to conduct pre-purchase inspection.”

“Hhmm. Pre-purchase inspection?”

“Buying a pre-owned vehicle isn’t like buying something from the mall. You have to make sure that it is roadworthy. That it is safe for you to use and for others on the road.” Dad explained.

“Most used-car salespeople display the vehicle safety certificate on the car they are selling. It means that the car has passed minimum safety standards.” Mom also offered an explanation.

“But don’t take their word for it. Those people will do and say anything just to make a sale. You have to know what to look for and how. Thus, pre-purchase inspection. You can also ask for a test drive.” Dad added.

“Aren’t you going with me when it the time comes?” I was getting worried.

“Of course, we’ll be there honey. But itstill would help if you’re prepared. Knowing what to look for in an inspection will also help you spot the car you’d be interested to buy.” 

Over the course of five months, I immersed myself with car and driver talk. Today, I am ready.