You know those people who are super excited to buy a new house, get a new car, grab the latest phone, upgrade anything and everything?
I am not one of them.
Which is why my cute little Jetta has lasted 16 years. Despite its rear driver door that hasn’t opened in 10 years. Despite the “check engine” light that’s been on for 5 years (my mechanics have assured me it’s a blip). Despite the front bumper that’s been falling off for 3 years. The front passenger window that doesn’t go down properly. The shards of compost from compulsive gardening which I can’t get out of the trunk (no matter how many times I vacuum). The faint smell of rancid butter which melted into the car’s upholstery when I drove it from Wisconsin to Maryland in the middle of July so very many years ago (don’t even ask…I was an idiot). The bodywork that is banged-up and scratched-up and rusting off.
Last weekend, while driving up a mountainside on the way home from Frostburg, my car seized: it began losing acceleration, the engine started smoking, and the whole thing shook. I pulled into the nearest gas station, and although the oil light hadn’t illuminated, I found oil all over my engine and leaking below.
(Or rather, the very kind police officer — who pulled up right next to me, right after I parked, and was undoubtedly sent by my guardian angel — helped me to sift thru the mess.)
The tank was bone dry. The line may have broken. The engine block could be cracked. I added oil and (eventually) arrived home…but the car was a shaking, smoking, stinky, hot mess.
I needed a new car.
Which is how I found myself touring dealerships a few days later:
Car salesman approached me.
HIM: These Souls are so cute, aren’t they? What color would you like to look at first? Red? Green? Black?
ME: Actually, I’d like to feel the difference between driving a 1.6 and 2.0 liter engine.
HIM: You know, this car sells very well b/c it’s rated highest in it’s class. You’re lucky we have any left!
ME: Actually, the popularity of boxy cars has declined, which is why the xB, Cube, and Element are no longer in production. Plus, Soul’s sales are down 22% from this time last year. So really, you’re lucky I’m even here looking.
Knowledge is power.
(And I’m now a new member of the Subaru family!)