I'm having a lot of second and third thoughts about the new car.
I had been weighing the decision to buy a new car for about a year. I have a 2000 Chrysler minivan. It has only 86,000 miles on it, but I've taken such poor care of it that it runs as if it had 250,000 miles on it. I didn't feel I could trust it on a long drive.
So, I had been batting around a number of alternatives. One alternative was buying a second, smaller fuel-efficient car to augment the minivan, which I would keep for hauling stuff from Lowe's and The Home Depot and other 'dirty' chores. Among the cars I considered were the Toyota Yaris, the Mini Cooper, the Scion icebox car – whatever that's called, and the VW New Beetle.
Another alternative was unloading the minivan and buying a new one, and continuing to own only one vehicle.
Yet another alternative was just keeping the old minivan and doing nothing.
I had batted these possibilities around for month after month, until finally, last Tuesday, the transmission crapped out on the minivan. Fortunately, the thing was in the driveway when it suddenly went ka-WHUMP and refused to go forward anymore (although it will still back up).
'Enough putting this off,' I thought, and I called a friend to take me to a VW dealership just a couple of miles from my house. My credit union has a branch right across the street. So I told the salesman which car I wanted, went next door and got a cashier's check, and drove off the lot in a new 2009 VW Beetle.
Did I do the right thing? I don't know. It's a lot more fuel efficient than the minivan, but it gets the worst mileage of any of the small cars I considered. I drive less than 10 thousand miles a year, so I don't worry as much about gas mileage as do my friends who drive 30,000-60,000 miles.
The VW is also, from online reviews I've read, probably the most maintenance-intensive of the cars I considered. And there are no cheap fixes: even the water pump, made of plastic, costs about $1400 to replace.
Was this a wise decision? Should I have waited longer? Did I let ego drive me to buy a 'salsa red' Beetle that really stands out compared to my safe, sane white minivan? Will I regret buying a car with the New Beetle's reputation?
This car is a lot of fun to drive. But I feel like I'm just driving my ego around. And the Bedetle, being a Beetle, has that kind of 'toy car' feel its sixties predecessor had. (I drove a beat-up old used beetle in college, and I'm sure that nostalgia also affected my purchasing decision.)
I'm still going to try to get the minivan repaired. I'll try to get an estimate next week.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Many months ago, I posted a couple of items about so-called 'celebrity news' cluttering up my brain. I tend to see this stuff as the intellectual equivalent of the junk piled up in my car and house. There must be hundreds of bits of such stuff that I wish I could just wipe from my memory.
It occurred to me recently that there's also a lot of non-celebrity news that I don't need to know or want to know. This is especially true about second-hand news (ie, gossip) about people I barely know or don't know at all.
It's not so much that I'm morally outraged by the stuff as it is that I just don't want more clutter in my brain. It's like getting that damn 'Buyer's Guide' from the newspaper every week. I don't subscribe to the paper, and I never open the guide, but it shows up nonetheless — a regular weekly nuisance. At least I can throw it away unopened; the junk news that I hear around the neighborhood just stays stuck in my brain.
There's not much I need to know anymore. I spend a large part of many days sitting in the backyard watching birds. Now that fall has arrived, I often sit with the fireplace going, watching the flames and listening to music.
I'd be happy to trade about half of my supposed knowledge for an equal amount of wisdom.