So, I bought a car…?!
Ok, it was a bit ago now.
It’s weird, because family doesn’t buy new cars.
We acquire a vehicle every few years, but they’re never new. Literally, the last (and I believe only) actually-new vehicle my parents bought was the minivan they got when I was 18 months old, and we kept it until I was 10 or so. Usually we buy them cheaply off my grandparents when they buy new cars, or from friends, or the interwebs, very occasionally from a used car lot.
And of the four cars I’ve driven regularly for various periods of time in the 8 years I’ve been driving, none of them have ever:
- been officially/legally mine.
- been mine before anyone else in my family.
- been newer than 10 years old when I started driving them.
- had less than about 90,000 miles on them.
- had a CD player, except the one that was mostly my younger sister’s, but we shared it the year we were at college together. (And one didn’t even have a tape player. Or a ceiling, for that matter. Just bare metal!)
- been driven by anyone else in the family (and usually not anybody else, period) after me
I drive them until the cost of keeping them going is more than their worth, at which point they were, respectively: relegated to a junkyard, sold for $250, donated, or – in the case of the last one – still sitting useless in front of our house.
So imagine my shock when, upon the last one’s abrupt demise (at a stoplight on my way to church!) the parents actually encouraged me to buy a legitimately new car! We looked around for used ones, briefly, but the parents decided they were done passing their old cars onto me, and we weren’t finding anything not-completely-horrendous-but-just-crappy-enough for me to afford with the few thousand I could scrounge up, and the “nicer” used cars we were seeing weren’t nice enough to justify borrowing the difference.
So when my cousin, who recently started working for a Nissan dealership, mentioned that a brand new Versa was only a couple thousand more than those disappointing “nicer” used cars, I was intrigued. If I was going to have to have car payments just to get anything that wouldn’t die on me within two years again, the thought of having slightly higher car payments for something new and reliable, with a warranty – that nobody else had ever owned – sounded pretty darn good.
The more I thought about it, the better it sounded, and the parents (to my great surprise) agreed, so Daddy took me up to have my cousin show me what he had in mind. I thought, if I got anything new, it would be the super-basic Versa sedan, but when we got there, my cousin revealed that the cooler-looking hatchback version, normally $3k more, had a special deal going right then, bringing it down to a negligible difference! So we took one out for a test drive, and I was pretty much convinced!
We looked at the sedan and the different colors and packages they had handy, but it was pretty obvious that I was destined to leave with the bright royal blue hatchback, and it even has a remote to lock/unlock the doors, a Bluetooth phone hookup thinger, and an iPod connection (might have to buy an iPod now). So fancy! Ok, in the grand scheme of modern cars, not really. But for me, very fancy!
We went inside crunched some numbers, determined I’d only be mostly broke for the next few years, and signed my name a few thousand times. And then I left in a car that was mine. And terribly spiffy. And had single-digit mileage! (Of course it was up to 76mi. by the time I got home, since my cousin lives an hour away!) All in all, a slightly bizarre/surreal experience, but delightful!
And after a month and about 1000 miles of commuting later, I’m pretty thrilled with this lovely little car and have named him Neil. I initially wanted to name it Steve (the previous ones had all had guy names: Juan Excalibur and Loredo (both named by friends… don’t ask) and Charlie), but it didn’t quite feel right, so I thought maybe this one was a she-car.
But then another spacetweep announced she was naming her own new car Neil, in memory of Neil Armstrong, who just passed away, and it seemed kind of perfect. I was hesitant to copy the name, but she assured me she didn’t mind, and the longer I drove the car, the more it seemed to fit!