The thing about waiting 15 years between new-car purchases is that, when finally you admit it’s time to lay Ol’ Faithful to rest, automotive technology has changed so much that your new rig feels less like a car and more like an intergalactic starfighter.
But before I get into all that: Hey, how you doin’? Long time, no see. What’s that? What have I been up to? Well, so far, 2014 has been a challenging year. Those grand plans I had to get in shape and blog more often? Those were catastrophically torpedoed by a number of unexpected and more pressing issues … to include some intense, anxiety-related behavioral challenges with Jayna (which we seem to have helped her successfully navigate, thank Sweet Baby Jesus) and a crisis with an extended-family member so epic that it made a similar 2010 crisis involving the same extended-family member (which I wrote about at the time in a similarly vague and cryptic fashion) look like a halfhearted training exercise for this latest clusterfuck (which, unfortunately, out of respect for the family member in question, I am not prepared to write about in this space with any degree of detail … though I’d very much like to, and very much hope to at some point in the not-too-distant future).
On top of all that, I agreed to manage Zan’s baseball team this spring, as well as serve as an assistant coach on Jayna’s softball team.
Blogging? Fitness? What are these things of which you speak?
In the midst of all this madness, I realized I was a 44-year-old man driving an econo-car that I bought when I was 29.
It was a good car. A great car, even. I bought it in 1999, shortly after Wonder Woman and I got married, at which time we were living in Arizona. We drove it across country when we returned to Massachusetts back in 2000. I taught her how to drive a stick shift during that adventure … and, to her credit, I never needed to replace the clutch.
By 2014, however, it had morphed from being a great car to being an old car … and a starting-to-rust car. And when I was parking it at the baseball field amidst a sea of Beemers and Audis and Mercedeses (Mercedi?) … and the kids were climbing in and out from behind my driver’s seat … and the engine was making wheezy, gaspy noises as I drove it about town … and the act of parking it at our favorite, valet-only restaurant required me to come up with a new, self-deprecating, old-car-related joke every time I passed it off to the attendant … and the stack of bills for unexpected repairs substantially outweighed the money we supposedly were saving by not having a car payment … well, it became glaringly obvious that it was time to make a move.
And so the stressed-out, 44-year-old man driving the 15-year-old shitbox to and from a job he greatly dislikes but tolerates for the sole purpose of providing for his family said, “Hey, here’s an idea! Howzabout I do something really, really nice just for ME?!”
“You deserve it,” said Wonder Woman. Who was I to argue?
Which is how I ended up going from this* …
[*That strange-looking thing in the middle of the old car’s dashboard is called a “cassette player,” boys and girls. It’s how we old folks listened to our music back in the 1900s. There’s also a butter churn in the trunk.]
Less than an hour after getting my new wheels, I surprised the kiddos by picking them up from school. The excitement they demonstrated upon realizing that they now had the luxury of entering and exiting through their own rear-passenger doors would have led you to believe I’d told them we were going to a free-pony giveaway at Disneyworld.
See? Deprivation has its benefits.