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The Bang Bang Theories

Mine, All Mine

Last May I did something that I was totally excited and proud of myself for – I paid off and officially owned my convertible. I was so excited to actually own that damn $42k car that the title with the Lien Cancelled stamp still hangs on my fridge.

Reader, I haven’t owned – free & clear – a car since I purchased a used one for $3000 back in the early 90’s. While I was married I was a leasor, which seemed to make sense as we were stupid about money because we had enough of it to be stupid with it, and then I just carried on with that pattern for years after, too. There was a very strong sense of security with having a new-ish car that was covered head-to-toe with any problems that could crop up.

I think my desire for car security comes from my young, poor years when I drove many-a-ramshackle vehicle that could not be trusted to get me where I was going.

I’ve been the person broken down on the side of the road more than once, and actually climbed into a big windowless van with a strange man* – a van with that gated thing behind the front seats –  in which I looked back at and thought I wasn’t getting out of there alive, but climbed in anyway because it was 7 a.m. on the highway with snow up to my cooter, and I was in thin cotton pants and a windbreaker, on my way into work. If you’re wondering why I didn’t just call for help – or my husband, which I had at the time, who was an auto mechanic, ironically enough – this was back in the Olden Days, B.C. (before cellphones).

That was just one instance. There were several – enough to make me fully appreciate the reliability of a good car. And why it wasn’t hard to thumb my nose at Suze Orman’s school of thought that leasing was for dummies. How many times had she barely escaped a kidnapping, is what I want to know, before we listen to her advice. My guess is Zero Times, Suze. So you’re actually no expert, Madam, once you factor in that equation to the cost of leasing vs. owning. She obvi doesn’t put a price tag on avoiding kidnapping, which I would value at a billion dollars. And that’s why I leased a Lexus for 15 years or so, to avoid kidnapping.

Then I went to the car show one year and felt the need for something new. Because I was starting to feel like a Lexus SUV – not like a Lexus SUV Owner, but the actual car itself. Wide. Roomy. Very Roomy. Extremely Roomy. With Soft & Cushy parts that you just sink into.  I needed something that made me feel smaller. Sleeker. But not too fast, because this is me we’re talking about, and I really don’t see a need for more cylinders than 4, thank you very much, I don’t even like making left hand turns if I can avoid them. I’m sleek, but cautious.

So I ditched the lease and decided to buy a Volkswagen EOS, because she’s a cutie of a little car and I would love her until the end of days, so I might as well own her rather than lease her. Also, I welcomed the experience of one day not paying $500/month in a car payment, and made fantasies of how I would roll around in all that extra money.

Let me  tell you, that part feels really really good, Reader. I love that part.

The part I don’t love so much? Not six months after I had made my last car payment, I discovered my cute car had a major leak, due to an ill-fitting liner, and it was no longer under warranty. Because I’d had it since 2010. She’s old now and sprung a leak.

That little leak set me back to the tune of $1800. So really only 3 months more of a car payment, plus a little bit extra for good measure. That’s how I justified it, no biggie, calm down, Me. At least that part is insured for a year. Whew. Shouldn’t have to deal with that again.

Spring forward to today, when it was 73 and sunshiny like a mother out there, and I took the top off (of the car, not my top, I kept that on, I don’t need those things flapping in the wind, no one would benefit from that) to enjoy the sunshine-filled ride home from work.

And discovered the passenger-side window has stopped participating in button-pressing up. I’d say “rolling up” but we don’t actually roll up windows any longer. Hm. Will kids these days even understand “roll up the windows??” The things they are missing out on. Because I wish I had an old-fashioned hand crank in there right about now.

We have an appointment with the car doctor in the morning to get a diagnosis. And hopefully a repair before the April Showers come to town.

So basically we’ve learned here that Suze Orman is no expert on avoiding kidnapping, nor is she good with advising about leasing vs. owning a car. Because I don’t recall her stressing the financial burden that comes with owning a car as it begins the horrible aging process. I will lay the blame for a damp ass at her feet.

And we’ve learned that sometimes you can get in a stranger-danger van and not get kidnapped, but I’m not endorsing that, Reader. It may not have a good outcome, and I can’t be responsible for your safety.

*My stranger-danger driver was actually a really nice guy who picked me up because his wife had broken down on the road a month earlier and someone had helped her out. Thank goodness for the kindness of paying-it-forward, and not wanting a piece of my vagina. Or any other pieces of me. Cut up and served with a side of fava beans. 


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