Well, I know that anyone who was waiting with bated breath to hear about how the car turned out is now dead from asphyxiation (okay, you can't die that way, but you pass out and get angry at yourself for trying and at me for leaving you in suspense.)
It turned out well. I bought the car I was looking at, more or less, and I managed to stay with the open attitude that I am becoming accustomed to, the one that feels like my Self.
Of course, the story is more interesting than that. :-)
I nursed my old car the rest of that week (the third week of September.) I went in to the dealer on Saturday, but thanks to 'ken Ian's advice, I had done some more homework. I had checked the average retail price of the car I wanted on Edmunds, and the correct BlueBook price of my old car, as well. I had e-mailed the dealership for an online quote, which was actually slightly less than Edmunds's average. So, I had already worked up my offer: I discounted my old car by half off its BlueBook, since it wasn't running well, and used the online quote. Basically, I was all prepared, which made me more confident that I would be able to do the deal with the open attitude that I wanted.
The first glitch was that the orange-red car I had test-driven that Tuesday, as well as the other darker red one, had both been transferred to other dealers. I was left with only one car of the desired model, which was black. I said okay.
Then, it seemed to take a long time for the used-car guy to come back from his test drive of my old car. Eventually, he called to say that it had died on him during the test drive, and he'd been unable to start it again! They were giving him a ride back to the dealership.
Now I was worried: not only was I not going to get anything for my old car, but if I was forced to walk away from the deal, I would literally be walking! Actually, though, I wasn't expecting much for my old car, and reducing it to zero wouldn't have killed the deal. But I expected them to be tougher on the negotiations, so I was a little worried.
Then the used-car guy came back with an offer that was actually slightly higher than I had planned to ask for! And although their overall offer did start with a lot of extra fees (some of which are inevitable), it only took one round of back-and-forth to settle. I had tried to avoid that sort of negotiation, but at least I managed to negotiate despite my poor position. When I later asked the used car guy, who seemed like a nice old guy, what happened, he told me that near the end of the month like that, the new car side puts pressure on him to make better deals so they can sell cars. So I was the beneficiary of that, as well.
Overall, I really like the new car. It drives well, but more importantly, it isn't dead by the side of the road. :-)
The other interesting outcome seems to be a certain upset in my internal system. I find myself questioning my old ways of handling fears (hiding them away) and setbacks (getting angry at them.) Here, what could be called my better Self triumphed, by doing some extra work up front and then having confidence in my ability to handle the unforeseen. I think my old "manager" part, which was more likely to give me reasons not to try new things, has lost some support, and knows it. It makes me wonder whether there might not be some internal changes in my near future ...