I kept the inevitable at bay for two years. I’m proud of that record. Polar ice might have melted more slowly thanks to my diligence.
That’s all over now; last weekend we bought our first car.
Renate has been ready since our first Chicago winter, and I have stalled like a champ. Trouble started brewing when my mother-in-law agreed to oversee a semester-abroad program in Germany this fall. Sensing opportunity, Renate selflessly volunteered to babysit her Mazda Protege.
It’s a pleasant, responsible car; four doors, roomy trunk, solid pickup on the highway. The radio knob is missing, a reminder that our three-year-old nephew was here.
“You know we won’t want to go back to not having one,” Renate informed me a few weeks after we drove the car from Muncie.
I’ve spent the last year shedding things, and I loathed the idea of making monthly payments, examining scratched bumpers, ignoring clanking noises under the hood, shelling out for gas.
But I sure didn’t mind driving to Target.
“We’d like a sedan,” we told the salesman at the Hyundai lot. “Nothing too big. A compact, probably.”
It sounded nice; an economical, efficient, environmentally-friendly step into ownership. Renate’s only deal-breaker for a smaller car was that it not sound like a wind-up toy. Also, it needed an intimidating horn.
But then irrationality stepped in.
“What’s that?” Renate pointed at a mini-SUV near the dealership door.
“Nice, huh?” the salesman said. “Woman traded that in last week for a Santa Fe.” He was still standing next to the Hyundai Accent that fit our initial specs.
“I kind of like it,” Renate said to me.
You know how it ends.
Our new (used) car comes with a collapsible table where the spare wheel should be. There’s a drawer under the passenger seat. The previous owner left a pet harness in the back and Johnny Cash’s 16 Biggest Hits in the CD player.
Clearly we got our money’s worth.