On The Price Is Right Bob Barker (I'm old, so it's Bob Barker) points to a set of doors and the announcer hollers A new car!. The doors open on a woman waving her hand over the car and then cut to a contestant going nuts. This is the image I think of when anyone (including myself) mentions a new car. Well, Bob Barker has pointed and the doors have opened on a new car for me. Well, it's sort of new.
It's the classic story. Boy owns car for thirteen and a half years. Boy drives car 176,000 miles. Car's exhaust system dies. Mechanic says buy another car. Boy hangs his head then goes online and finds used car. Boy and wife test drive and negotiate the deal. Boy drives old car to dealer and drives A new (used) car! home. Boy is happy.
This feels familiar.
Summer of 2005 our 1993 Tercel died in our driveway after 150,000 miles, twelve years, and a couple accidents. We gave it to public radio and bought A new car!, a Scion xA for $13,500. It survived a t-bone accident I thought had totaled it and drove fine for another dozen years. It still runs fine but the exhaust fix costs more than the car is worth.
We traded it in and bought another car.
There's not much to enjoy about the process of buying of a new car. I hate dealerships. That's one reason I want a Tesla. Prices are set. No haggling. We bought my wife's new car a year and a half ago and that was challenging but buying a used car from a dealer is worse. Our salesman this time was a dealership guy through and through. Sigh.
All that said, after a drive yesterday I told my wife, I like everything about this car.
Our youngest daughter has one rule for cars: it can't be stalker-car white. I've explained that only applies to white vans of a certain vintage driven by creepy men. She maintains that the rule applies to all white vehicles and says nothing about whether or not I'm creepy.
Our new (used) car is white.
A friend who loves cars said it doesn't matter what car you get so long as it's not a Prius. Those things can't get out of their own way, the rear view is terrible, and it's like you're making an ecological statement without really being green.
I can't wait to take him for a ride in our new (used) Prius with 81,000 miles on it.
The night I drove it home, I watched a video of a guy who bought a 2010 Prius with 197,000 miles. I've watched it twice since then because it makes me feel warm inside. I'm getting to really like this car already. And like Ricky Nelson sang:
But it's all right now, I learned my lesson well.
You see, ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself
I swore that my next car would be a Tesla, the car of the future. No more gas stations, oil changes, or dealerships. I was getting a Tesla and wasn't letting anything get in the way.
Things, mostly money, got in the way.
I can afford a used, white Prius with 81,000 miles and that's what I've settled for. Sometimes settling is okay. I still dream of a Tesla, but the Prius makes me happy and isn't that the point?
I'm not jumping around like a game show contestant, but I'll take happiness as I find it and smile. My daughter will adjust. My friend will shake his head but wish me well. I hope to drive my new, used, white Prius for a hundred thousand more miles or so, smiling at my good fortune, looking down the long road ahead, and wondering where I might take myself.