It is an achievement few thought would occur in their lifetimes. Some had pondered the possibility in the back of their minds in a kind of wishful thinking; others had long ago dismissed ithe idea as simply impossible. And yet, in January of 2009, that which was once considered to be almost against the very laws that govern our universe became a new reality:
Beth bought a car.
To make a long story short, you can only drive a 1997 Ford Escort wagon for so long before stuff in it starts catching on fire when you try to drive it. I never knew what a head gasket was, and I still really don’t, but apparently, it’s somewhat essential and when it breaks, it costs about a grand to fix. Anyhow, Ziggy, my parents’ beloved old car which I have driven pretty much my entire driving life, had to be taken off the road because it wasnt worth a thousand dollar fix-it job. And thus, I began three weeks of obsessive comparison shopping, car site surfing, carfax checking and creative financing, the result of which is I now have a 2005 Chevy Cavalier coup. Blue. Anyone need a ride?
I am only mentioning this because, a) so many of you have followed my bizarre driving history over the years I thought you should hear this latest chapter and b) in the midst of headaches and hassle, the anxiety and aggravation that come from having to finance a huge purchase out of the blue, when its your slow season at work, when you already have a ton of debt, when other people need the thing, too, a (I know you all know what Im talking about…), in the midst of this, I realized a few things.
One was how Im lucky to live where I live. There are countries in the world where a woman can’t even drive. Imagine that the next time, female readers, when you take your kid to school or go to the grocery store or drive to the OTB to put five bucks on the 4 horse: there are women in this world who cannot drive cars – by law. So the fact that I, as a female, can pick out a car, talk to a bank, get a loan, get insured, and drive off the lot with the thing – it’s what I say qualifies as a blessing of liberty. And the fact that men and women interchangeably helped me with my loan and insurance was also quite cool when you think about it: it’s no big thing for a woman to be in those fields in America. Not so in many place. All of this just made me realize how Im fortunate I am. And it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyhow, for millions of people, getting a car is an impossibility- they just can’t afford it, or they don’t have access to them. I think of the “Lost Boys” of Sudan, walking for miles and miles in desert . Or I think of all the isolated places where supplies are needed, like after the storms this summer in Haiti, and what a help it would have been for them to have a car and good roads to drive on.
Another thing that came to mind as I got this all together was this: while buying a car signified to me a kind of self-reliant action, one many people take long before they’re my age, the process of buying a car was also a lesson in how important it is to let people help you. I consulted friends and relatives who had experience and insights and it made the whole thing so much easier. And the people at the businesses I dealt with – bank and insurer and the dealership- they were very nice and advised me honestly and were not trying to gouge me. There have been so many stories of crooked business people lately, it was refreshing to realize a lot of people are just trying to make a living and want to do their job well. Anyhow, the bottom line idea here Im trying to get to is, life really does a require a balance of taking personal initative and having people to help and support you. And there was also praying, such as “Lord, dont let me dent this rental car.”
So, I have a new car. Old new car. Im taking suggestions for names. Any thoughts, email me. Also, Im taking invitations if anyone wants me to stop by. Though you may need to wait til I get a GPS; you know how I am with directions… J
This isnt my actual car, but, it looks pretty much the same.