Sunday, January 31, 2010

10 Steps in the ownership of a car

A new car.  mmmmmm....who doesn't like this most American of things.  Ownership of a new car, even if it's only new to you can be one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have.  Once you get that car you will notice several things about yourself as you get to know your new means of conveyance.  This list goes over the feelings you have in the life of a new car.  Some of these bits don't show up if you get a used car.  But many of them still apply.  Note:  This is AFTER the pain of negotiating for the price of the car in question which might warrant it's own top 10 list.  It's probably the reason more new cars aren't sold.

1. Euphoria (that new car smell) - Everything about the car is AMAZING.  Look at this!  Look at that!  There's a button that does this!  There's a switch that tells you when you need to go to the bathroom!  They've thought of everything!  Every time you get into the car, you breathe in those toxic (yes toxic) fumes of new car-ness.  Wonderfully euphoric.  It's at this point that the cost of the vehicle, the soul(s) you had to sell in order to get into the payments evaporate into distant memories.  You adjust the seat several times to find the perfect position.  You preset the radio with your favorite stations and remark on just how much better music sounds in this vehicle.  You make a standing rule that NO HUMAN WILL EVER EAT IN THIS VEHICLE!  You quite honestly wish to keep this feeling as long as you possibly can.  It's true love as crushy as it gets.

2. Woah! The breaks/Gas/ etc are pretty different.  -  Usually in the first week, you run into all of the idiosyncrasies of your new car.  "Wow!  those are really strong breaks!" This is usually said as the person behind you nearly rear-ends you.  The acceleration is different.  You hope to the better, but sometimes there is a bit of a response wait between the pushing down on the gas and the acceleration of the car.  you realize that your turning radius is very different.  no more 7 point turns to make a U turn in the road.   OR 'Ouch!  I didn't think I'd hit the curb!'  It takes a week or so to get used to all the little strange bits involved with your new car.

3. New girlfriend/boyfriend - for the first while.  Your new car is so precious that you will find yourself parking like an Idiot just to protect it's precious clear coat finish.  You will take strange routes to and from work to avoid that gravel spitting up and putting a scratch on it.  You will wash all the time.  Just like a new Boyfriend or Girlfriend.  You will do all the 'little' things that you would not normally do.  On top of that, all other cars look like boxes with wheels on them.  They probably shouldn't even be on the road.  This is of course unless you happen to drive by that Ferrari or something, but even then you'll say 'pssht I wouldn't ever pay THAT much for a car'

4. still a little thrill - Park like a normal human - Now it's been a few months and you are still thrilled to see that car in your garage, but you've come to understand that it's just not nice to park diagonally across 6 parking spots because you don't want to get a ding.  You start to park like a human being.  You are still careful.  You still drive by close spots because the cars next to you look like they just came from a WAL-MART and so you know that you are subjecting your darling to undue risk.  You still make yourself walk a little too far because of this car you drive.

5. The first real ding - Son of a!!! I'm gonna sue!  Look at that!  it's horrible!  You examine the cars next to yours closely, you think about getting a small paint sample off the edge of the door to see if they were in fact the culprit.  You consider how much it will cost to get it fixed, but you will still know it's there.  The first real blemish.  On the other hand, the good news is, you can park anywhere you like now.  You still love your new car, but you are gonna park where ever because once there is one ding, there are bound to be others.

6.  Well, I GUESS it's a nice car - This is the part where people that come ride in your car think it's really nice, but you've already been a  little jaded because of the ding.  You can see the blemishes because you drive it all the time.  You are around that car day in and day out.  Sure it looks nice to an outsider that doesn't know it.  I mean, it's an ok car I guess.  But you know how it is.  In this area you daydream about a new car again, but you really have no intention of trading this one in on anything.  You are upside down on the payments anyway.

7. Old reliable (car may get a name) - It's been over a year, maybe 2, and you are so comfortable with the 'new' car that you might have even given it a name.  Old Betsy, or the Blue Dart or something equally clever.  It's a part of you now.  You know nearly everything about it and you feel like it knows you.  It's like your faithful dog.  Always there, ready to speed you off to your next obligation.

8. This isn't regular maintenance! - The car used to always turn this way without a problem.  I turned off the radio for a minute and I've never heard THIS noise before.  When you let go of the steering wheel the car acts like it has an internal GPS it's following, Or of course you get into come kind of accident.  This hopefully happens later than sooner, because at whatever point your car takes more damage than just a ding or requires a repair costing several hundred dollars.  It's the first problem with your car that you can't quite decide weather to fix it right away, or just get it taken care of the next time you take the car in.  But every time you experience that new 'quirk' it bothers you until you finally get it fixed.  Aahhhhhhhh glad THATS over with.

9. Duct Tape - Well, there's things you want to fix and there's things you GOTTA fix.  Your car has taken on the appearance of nearly any car on the freeway.  It has a little rust here.  a ding or two there.  There's a crack in the front grill from when you hit that deer and didn't want to replace the actual grill work.  There's the missing hubcap.  You start 'fixing' things yourself because you don't want to 'sink' anymore money into it.  Yes the car still gets you from here to there, but you wouldn't really consider it for a long distance trip.  (The first time you rent a car to go on a long trip and leave your car home...your car cries).  You are not in the mood to get a new car.  In face you sill fiercely defend this car.  'It's a fine car.  just a few nicks and scratches, that's all'  But every little piece you replace.  Every part you pick up at pep-boys, every can of rust-o-leum you buy is another nail in this cars coffin.

10. Time to put Grandpa in the home. - You've had enough.  the repairs for the car are becoming more expensive than the payments on a new car.  The only real problem is , do you trade it in on a new model?  or do you donate it to the kidney people.  Well, when you trade it in, just remember, what they give you for that car will be an insult.  You will regain a new appreciation for your reliable wheels.  So you may sell it yourself, or you might just donate it after all.  But once you've made that decision, that car is dead to you.  You may let it rot out on a parking lot somewhere with a sign on it with your phone number, or you might just call for a tow.  All you can think about is what is your NEW car going to be like?  You aren't going to make the same mistakes you made with this POS....Oh no.  You are going to do it smart this time.  It's the circle of life really...the circle of life.

So the next time you drive down the road and see a rickety rust bucket that can barely keep itself together long enough to get through the intersection.  Just remember.  At probably more than one point in it's life, someone said 'That sounds like a fair price for that car, I'll take it'

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