Around the second half of my senior year of high school the paint started to bubble up. And then it started to peel off. My car went from black to something that looked like it had leprosy in a matter of months.
I hated to see this happening to my car.
When I was in college, my sorority politely asked me not to park the car near our house. And I completely understood where they were coming from. I begged my dad for a paint job because despite the fact that it had cosmetic issues on the outside, the engine still worked. I didn't have trouble getting around town and I knew there was no way my parents would buy another one so the paint job was my best option.
It took my dad a few months to get tired of me asking all the time before he finally gave in. He took the car to Earl Sheib and got their $399 special. The result was a Pepsi Can blue car with very little shine. I had to revise her name to "The beauty" and grin and bear it as I drove her around. She worked, though, and that was mostly all that mattered.
Sure, I would have loved to have driven something similar to my friends but I was also thankful to have anything at all. Especially considering that I was a full time college student and my part time job at a monogramming shop would never cover a car payment. I knew I was very lucky to have "The Beauty".
She lasted all through college with just a few minor glitches. My dad sold "The Beauty" when I moved to NY after graduation. I think he got $1400 for her, which shocked me!
I left NY after about a year and moved to Cincinnati where I needed a new car. At the time, my aunt had just purchased a new van from a friend and very generously gave me her old 1988 Blazer. I had to learn how to drive a stick in order to drive it from her house in South Carolina to my new house in Northern Kentucky. Talk about baptism by fire. But I made it just fine.
3 days after I got there the car broke down.
It continued breaking down on me so much so that I had the tow truck company's number memorized. It would pick the worst times to stall out or just plain not start at all when I was on the way to work. I was fortunate to be able to get cabs to the airport when necessary but it was certainly stressful to wonder if I was going to have car trouble every time I got in to go somewhere.
After 9/11 it became VERY clear that I needed something more reliable. Everything had changed in our world and we all needed to know that if I had to drive home to Texas, I could. So my mom flew up to Cincinnati in November of 2001 and we went car shopping. At the time, car dealers were practically giving their first born child for free with every car sold. We got a great deal and I was thrilled to have a brand new Honda Civic.
Nothing fancy, obviously, but certainly reliable, which was the only thing I cared about.
I still drive that car, with two car seats in the back and almost no room in the truck when I have a stroller in there. I love it. It has never (knock on wood) let me down. I just don't have to worry about getting from point A to point B with my car. I will drive it until it just won't go anymore. Just like I did with "The Beauty" and the Blazer.
All that leads me to the point of this post: I drive cars, even very old and ugly cars, until they are unsafe or unreliable. That's just the way it is for me. I view a car as a means to get around and nothing more. Your BMW does not impress me. I don't care about cars in that way.
But Matt does.
And I know that the paint coming off his car makes him cringe every morning. I know that he would very much prefer to get a "status" car rather than driving around a car that is clearly not going to win any beauty contests. Even if it does run just fine.
But he isn't asking for a "status" car. He's asking for a practical family truck that really would make sense for our long-term needs. A place to put sports equipment and camping gear. A place to put all of our suitcases and Christmas gifts when we travel to see family for the holidays. I have to agree with him that we will certainly need something like that soon because we aren't going to get much in the trunk of my car, that's for sure.
So I guess I was a little unfair when I teased about the Tacoma he has been talking about for months now. I do support getting a new car (or truck or whatever). I know he would probably rather get something much more glamorous than a Tacoma truck but won't because we want to be able to pay for college one day. He really has put a lot of thought into his decisions. He's done research on safety ratings, insurance costs and reliability. I have to give him credit for that.
It's just fun to tease because he takes every single chance he gets to point out other great reasons to get a truck. You know, like bringing home groceries. :-)