Saturday, September 22, 2012

A contemplation on cars

Yeah, I was off the grid for awhile the week before last. But seem to be making up for it this week .

So why the absence? We were off to Seattle in hot pursuit of new car -- and visit with family and friends.

The tragic demise of the Go-Kart several weeks ago raised a number of profound (well, for as about profound as we get around the Nine-One-Four) philosophical questions in our household. Do we need a replacement car? Do we need to own a car? Do we need all the bells and whistles car manufacturers seem to think we need?

Our answers to our questions about the transportational meaning of life did and didn't surprise us.

1. Yes, we need a replacement car. Fortunately and unfortunately, my date and I have jobs that involve local travel. He, between two pediatric clinics out in the 'burbs -- me, among three fine institutions of higher education. . .  potentially on a daily basis during the school year. So, yes, at least for the next few years, while we figure out what we really want to do when we grow up, we need that replacement car.

2. No, we don't need to own a car. And I don't think ever again. This was one of those hindsight-is-20/20 blinding flashes of the obvious. Why would we own something that depreciates the minute you sign on the dotted line and you drive it off the lot? In fact, this topic actually took us off into many other fascinating side bar conversations, like "Why do we own anything?" But that's for another blog.

Thanks to the resultant blinding flash of the obvious, we took The Leap and decided to try leasing a car this time around. Our good friend Archie, who works for a Seattle Volkswagen/Subaru dealership, helped us out since this was new territory for us. When we found out all service and car repairs were covered in the lease -- not to mention roadside service -- we said, "Sold!" I mean, "Leased!"

3. Air bags and heated seats. As we parsed it down, those were the only must-haves. After the accident in the Go-Kart, my date wanted air bags. Everywhere. If it were possible to install in them in the upper eyelids, he'd have us walking around with airbags in our eyeballs as I write.

And, I'm sorry, fatuous as it may sound, as I slide into my 6th decade on earth (that sounds SO much better than "turn 60". . . sort of) -- and stare yet another heinous Bermtopian winter in the face -- I wanted heated car seats.

We both got our wishes -- along with many of the bells and whistles car manufacturers seem to think we need. They weren't necessarily on the wish list, but we got them anyway. That's the way cars are packaged these days.

With a three-month trial subscription to Sirius satellite radio (someone had to explain that one to me)... adjustable seat belts where, as one of the vertically challenged on earth, I don't feel like I'm being chronically garotted by my car... and cute little velcro-based Lego blocks that can be shaped into containers so your groceries don't go ass-over-teakettle in the truck of the car -- well, let's just say, the Jetta is definitely the Family Fun Car.

Where am I going with all this? I'm not sure exactly. Except that, in an odd way, the transaction of acquiring a car -- a major event in most people's lives -- was simplified, more objective, less fraught with stress and suspicion, by the decision not to own. Is that true of other things in life? Is it better to use and return than to own?

This is WAY too much philosophical musing for a Saturday morning. I think it's time to go sort laundry. But I'm interested, what do you think?

The end.

1 comment:

  1. I think it's a great idea. We bought the SUV for 1 big and 1 giant dog. Now we only have 1 big dog and she hates cars. It mostly sits on the road gathering bird poop , spider webs and leaves. I think it might be our last owned car (unless we go bush).

    I'm more interested in learning that you're older than me. Gang busters! I shall try to be more respectful in the future. My dog says hi to your dog. We're all sulking today. Hooroo! X