I never realized how much emotional baggage a vehicle could hold until we traded one in last weekend.
Growing up with a mother who avoided the most necessary of tasks in order to function in her anxiety-filled state of being, I have overcompensated to a fault. I'm the person who is likely to put that beloved t-shirt you haven't donned since last September in the discard pile and get it to the Goodwill before you can spot in missing in your bottom drawer. The second something pops up that causes me an ounce of anxiety, I am on a mission to resolve it as quickly as possible, even if it means a trip to the dentist or the gynecologist or, worst of all, the DMV.
At the same time, I am an incredibly cautious when it comes to financial decisions that have long-term implications. Truth be told, I haven't been in that situation much in my adult life. I've had to sign leases for pricey apartments in Connecticut and DC, but that's about the extent of it. Thanks to the generosity of my aforementioned anxious mother, I've been driving the same clunker since college, which suits me just fine. It takes a lot of energy to enter a car dealership, don't you think?
What's funny is that we weren't even replacing my car. We were out to trader in MT's functioning, yet rapidly deteriorating Saturn Vue. Let me tell you, finding a part for a car from a manufacturer that no longer exists is about as easy as scouring Ebay for a pair of gently used silver size 10 Jimmy Choo pumps. Sure, they might be out there, but how much of your time and energy do you want to spend on your search?
While the Vue was running just fine, minus a few brake pad replacements here and there, it had some cosmetic things that were starting to become problematic. For instance, the passenger side door developed a leak between the window and the door, so that after a hard rainstorm, which is basically a daily afternoon occurrence in the summer, when MT made his first hard left turn, I'd end up with a bunch of stinky brown rain water dumped in my lap. So, we'd still get where we were going, but not in the most pleasant way imaginable.
Ultimately my desire to remain dry on the way to a restaurant on date night overrode my desire to put off a huge financial decision and we ended up at the dealership looking at a slightly used SUV that had features that pretty much made us start salivating, although we tried not to let on to the salesman that we were desperate. When he'd leave us alone for a minute to check on numbers, we'd squeal, "The Bluetooth is AWESOME! We can listen to Pandora while we drive. Omg, Santigold station!" "Don't you love the wooden finish on the inner console? It looks so classy! And there are FOUR cup holders in the front. We can have two drinks each!"
Of course, by the time you actually purchase the car and fill out the dozens of required forms, it's nearly impossible to even remember what the car you've bought even looks like. There were moments of serious impatience, mostly due to my not having eaten anything since breakfast other than the complimentary popcorn the dealership had for its customers. "I didn't even know we were buying a car today," I snapped at one point. Somehow we managed to push through the five hour purchase process and made our way home in our new ride, playing with all of the buttons and calling everyone we could via Bluetooth (obviously).
But, it did something deeper than I was expecting. Trading in theVue for a car that we both have equal ownership of was yet another step towards solidifying our new life together as a married couple, putting behind the cars and memories and decisions of the past and looking toward our future of road trips and kids in car seats and joint decision-making. I love our car because it adds to the narrative of us. It means new adventures and memories that we'll make together, singing to the Beatles and Maroon 5 and James Taylor the whole way. The keyless entry ain't so bad either.