My darling husband called me out over the weekend. "You take pride in your crap vehicles."
I most certainly do NOT. *humph*
And then it hit me. I do. Or I take pride in not caring about what I drive. Or something.
It goes a little something like this:
My dad brought home my first car. It was a 1979 AMC Spirit. Silver. The fabric on the ceiling was held on with stick pins. I called that car Flake. My less classy friend called it Smegma. If you really want to know, google it. You will discover you really didn't want to know. Where he came up with these words, I'll never know.
I had wheels. Few of my friends had wheels when I got that car. Didn't matter that it was a piece of junk that only started easily half the mornings (not usually the ones where I was late). It didn't matter that as the years wore on and other people got nicer vehicles (and car payments and jobs) the boys relentlessly teased me about buying my car for $50 and driving it in the demo derby. It was my car. I didn't have to ask. I didn't have to share. I just grabbed they keys and drove.
On my 18th birthday, my dad surprised me with a HUGE step up. A 1980-something Dodge Spirit. White. The ceiling was intact. The interior was red. I was so positively giddy with joy and pride to drive a car that didn't flake paint as I cruised that it didn't really occur to me that I didn't pick it. Or that still no one was envying my wheels.
I got married at 20 and with that marriage, my beloved traded his 'Stang for a Mercury Sable hand-me-down of his father's since we were at KU and I couldn't drive stick on the hills. We sold my little white car. Too many insurance payments with two cars. Especially when you live on campus. And little white didn't like to start on cold mornings. And leaked oil. Or so the new owners told me.
The Christmas after we graduated, I totaled the Sable on the interstate in an ice storm. Missed the semi. Hit first one side rail and then another. Never drove the car again.
Hubs went to a car auction. Replaced the aqua sable with an evergreen Sable with evergreen interior. He didn't pay much. Something like $200 less than we got in collision insurance payout.
When we moved to the city, we decided we needed two cars lest I, the stay-at-home-wife (for the time being) go STARK RAVING MAD while trapped in the townhouse ALONE, knowing NO ONE for DAYS ON END.
Beloved's uncle had just returned from a car auction and had a red Ford Taurus (gray interior) he was willing to give us a good deal on. I'm sure it was a good deal, but I remember gasping at the price of something like $7000. I'm sure it had very few miles on it. Enter our first car payment.
Enter my entry level job as the pregnancy, it wasn't a-happenin'. Double payments as long as I was employed. Enter Eldest. Enter unemployment. For both of us. And a pregnancy miracle with Princess.
Sold the green beast to my father, whom I'm sure payed way too much for it (for that we were very grateful). We ate the proceeds over the next several months.
Enter employment. For both of us. As Princess was now born, I did in home daycare. I do not advise people to do this unless they are exceedingly gifted with Other People's Children. I found that I am not. I was OK as long as I had them. Sending them home killed me on a daily basis. Anyhoo, with the daycare came my first minivan.
Someone picked it up for us at auction (see a trend here?). We bought it sight unseen. I remember being quite relieved that it didn't look as nasty as it was priced. (Thinking $2K?)
Drove that minivan until Dearest decided that it's death was imminent.
Friend offered us their meticulously maintained minivan for $7K (blue book). We declined. Didn't have $7K. Just having come off a steady income of Less Than We Needed To Survive. (Partly because I quit daycare and had Frodo--yet another miracle baby.)
Friend came back a couple months (weeks?) later and offered it to us for less. Maybe $5K? We decided to drive it. When we showed up to drive it, he lowered the price to $4,500. While we drove it, someone offered him $3500. Not knowing this, we told him we'd take it at $4500. He's far too scrupulous to let us have it for $4500, even though that was the deal, because he'd just told the other guy that if we didn't want it, he'd give it to him for $3500. So he gave it to us for $3500.
Fast forward nearly seven years and you come to last weekend, when Beloved decided the van would not live ONE MORE WEEK. New van MUST be bought. MUST have less than 50K miles on it. Must seat seven (prefer 8, but that isn't happening at our price point). And my personal must: MUST HAVE CARGO ROOM.
You would not believe the price tag we paid for a boring silver minivan. I cried. All weekend. All night. All day. While driving it. While cleaning out the old one. While paying for the new (to me) one.
It seems like if you are going to pay that much money for something, you ought to like it, ya know? But I decided that for me to find a car that fit my family that I actually liked, I'd have to go up another $10-20K. Which I am SO not willing to do.
So, I'm shallow. I thought I'd at least be able to get a minivan that was a color. Any color. But no. Bells and whistles? None. Cargo, I have. Seven seats, I have. Working transmission, I have. Less than fifty thousand miles, I have. Whoopie. My minivan is silver. Along with all the other minivans in the Target parking lot. I have entered Stepford.
But, I have to give Beloved kudos for calling me out about my crap car pride. I don't have it. Really, I don't. I just never actually picked a car before. They showed up in my drive way. Usually for a bargain basement price. And I could say to myself, "Sure, I drive a minivan, but it isn't like I paid much for it or anything." Or, "It isn't like I picked it or anything." Or any variant on the same. And now, suddenly, I have chosen for myself, among the great number of choices (2), a silver minivan. My other option was a silver minivan. (With a few more bells and whistles that I already have missed but a ride that wasn't nearly as smooth.)
And my pride has taken a hit.
Yes, that makes me shallow. Confession is good for the soul. My sister-in-law told me that God was blessing us. I know in my heart she's right. I'm trying to see that monstrosity sitting in my drive way as a blessing. I wanted a Durango or a Yukon or a Suburban. In RED. For less than we paid for the silver minivan.
STOP YER LAUGHIN'!
It's pretty nice that it starts. And goes.
Even if it isn't red.