I drive an old car. About 10 years old. Nothing fancy. It’s a transportation tool, not a luxury item or source of entertainment. I might feel differently if my car was, in fact, luxurious. But it isn’t.
On my first real job, I once had an assignment to join my department manager to give a presentation to another business unit located across town. He offered to drive and when we arrived at his car, I was surprised that this mid-level manager was driving such a heap of junk. At the ripe age of 23, I held automobiles in much higher esteem than I do now.
Well, he must have noticed the mildly quizzical look on my face and explained that in this world, you can either have a really nice house or a really nice car, but usually not both. He chose the house. And when I got to the point in life when I was ready to buy a house, I did exactly the same thing.
So, back to my car.
After 161,800 miles, it is one tired machine and needs a few replacement parts so I called the auto mechanic shop last week to give them fair warning I would be in on Saturday morning. They didn’t exactly roll out the red carpet, but I was able to find a spot in the customer waiting room. I fretted while they assessed my car and tallied up the list of parts that needed replacing. I had asked them to break the work into two groupings – one for this month and one for next month.
And the news came in with a four-figure price attached. > gulp <
Cristy was with me, thankfully. We all went to stand underneath the car and peer into the mysterious places where the wheels attach to the chassis. I asked this auto mechanic if my car was sound; if this money I was about to spend in repairs was indeed a good investment?
The look he gave me in reply did little to bolster my confidence.
I explained my working hypothesis: the cost of repairs to my auto, over the span of the next 12 months, would probably be less than the cost of 12 payments on a car loan. But I wanted a more informed opinion. Thankfully, this made more sense to him and he understood where I was coming from. He pointed out 2 additional things that needed to be addressed over the course of the next couple of months and otherwise pronounced the car healthy.
Next year at this time, I hope to have exceeded the 200,000 mile mark on my odometer with no other unforseen mechanical repairs.