September 15, 2005
Maybe keeping the car.
Talk about see-sawing. We actually bought nice bikes yesterday and rode around Carbondale. Very fun. Riding by the apartment and seeing our little car made me sad, though. We thought about keeping it. Then it rained hard early today, and we had a whole car full of recycling to take to the center, and we were glad to have it. In the afternoon, it cleared up, and we took a long bike ride just for fun. Felt nice. Shrink the gut, get some air, see parts of Carbondale up close. Good to do. After dinner, however, we thought, what if we kept the car and the bikes? Not to ride bikes all the time and just pay $500 a month to have a car on Saturdays or to make it to the movies on time. We're sure as hell not rich enough to have a weekend car. But to have a car for transportation and bikes for fun and exercise. Sounded good. So we went to Target (far enough away that you would really not bike there just to get Method products that you can buy online) and a late-night trip for something for me to put my dozens and dozens of pencils in. Turns out that we just worry about the car and the nice black paint and wiggity biggity boo too much. Not a very good reason to get rid of it. When we bought our first Focus, we went nuts. Happy nuts. We were in Baltimore for five weeks after two years in Boston and before moving out west to Southern Illinois. We were driving 200-400 miles a week, since we just never stayed home. It had been three years since I had a car at the time, and I was enjoying it. I really love to drive, and Foci are fun to drive. Maybe it's my aversion to Baltimore's buses, but you can't have much fun in Baltimore without your own set of wheels. I lived there for a long time with them and a long time without them, and you're gonna want an auto in Mobtown. For sure. We went nuts because car ownership was freedom, and we could go wherever we wanted. When that Focus got killed, and we put that stupid car bra on the new black one, we were convinced that it was invincible. But it turns out that no car is (duh), and we went nuts over every single paint chip. Ones from idiots. From the landlord carelessly murdering an asphalt curb all over the side of our car with a weedwacker. From getting things in and out of the back hatch. But, you know, this shit happens. Cars get scratches. I dont' think I could handle a deep dent in the side from Betty Sue getting out of her big-asses SUV, but I should be able to handle getting a few scratches. I might as well say that I don't want to own a car anymore because Carbondale drivers make driving in Washington DC fun (yes, I mean that). Shit happens. Yes. But why is it so difficult to change the way I react to it? Those little things drove us nuts. We never drove anywhere, unless we had the whole lot to ourselves. Stupid, yes. Very stupid. We wound up paying almost more than we can afford for a car that was only driving us crazy most of the time. For me, that was the biggest reason I wanted to get rid of it. Paying all that bread for something that takes my sanity away didn't seem to make sense. But hanging out downtown and chilling and driving in the rain (which I love to do for some reason) and going shopping for a $3 plastic box until 10:30 on a Thursday night reminded me of why having a car can be fun. Why I shouldn't sit here in the apartment wondering if a tree branch is going to fall on the hood or if I'm right that the sun is ruining the paint. Damn. How anally, materialistically, and insanely of a waste of energy is that? Confronted with selling our car and having the fact that I've lost sleep worrying about its state not make any difference at all, I could see how foolish I've been acting and thinking. And, confronted with being less...mobile, I suddenly appreciated what having a car means to us. So we're keeping the car, at least for now. We can always change our mind and sell it. But, if we sell it, we can't swing getting another once, since we'd stand to lose close to $7,000 instantly. We're thinking about re-financing it, since we have totally kick-ass credit these days, and if the paint gets worse, the whole damned car is still under a warranty. And now we have bikes, so maybe I can shrink the gut. My wife thinks that we wanted a change of life-style. And hell, I think I'm looking at the world differently tonight than I was at the start of the week. I feel like going out to get a beer, and I haven't felt like that in a long time.