When I was 8 or 9 years old I was in a community theater production of A Christmas Carol. I don't quite know why my parents let me do this, since the theater was quite a ways from our house and I remember going to quite a few rehearsals. Maybe they had visions of my Future Stardom? But I don't even think I had lines. Anyway, it was fun, and one of the best parts was having my dad all to myself while he drove me there and back.
My family had a gigando van and a small station wagon. My dad drove me to rehearsals in the station wagon, which was a treat, and he often took me to a fast food restaurant for lunch, which was an even bigger treat. One day my dad picked me up and told me there was a surprise waiting at home. A SURPRISE! I'm sure I badgered him about it all the way there, but he wouldn't give me a hint. Finally, when we got home and the garage door opened, there was a new car inside. Our old white van with the red stripe (people called it The Ambulance) was gone and in its place was a new-to-us Ford van, just as hulking as the old one, but blue and much newer and better looking than the white van.
It wasn't that I loved the white van. I mean, even at 8 or 9 I knew it was the farthest thing from a Sweet Ride. But the white van was our van. And this van... was nicer, yes, but DIFFERENT.
I offer that trip down Memory Lane to show you that I am unreasonably sentimental. Ridiculously so. I mean, hello, I am a THIRD GRADER. We are talking about a CAR. And not even a car, but a huuuuuuge van, a van so big my mother could pretty much walk around inside and dole out snacks to the five of us in car seats. And so unattractive that it had its own nickname.
So it makes sense that I would be at least a little bit morose about the fact that my little hippie car, with its excellent mileage and shiny blue paint and sparkly rearview mirror disco ball, is sitting on some dealership lot somewhere and there's a mini minivan sitting in its place in my garage.
(Yes. That is what Phillip and Maggie Cheung did on their fifth anniversary: try out car seats in a dealer's showroom and "negotiate" with a car salesman for an hour, only to say we needed to sleep on it, by which we meant "agonize about getting a new car over our anniversary dinner of halibut and salmon". GOOD TIMES.)
Even though we'd already pretty much decided to get a new car AND we were 99% sure which one we wanted, it was still a hard decision. I mean, it seems pretty stupid, in these Dire Economic Times, to trade the car that got 42 mpg on our little weekend road trip for one that [supposedly] gets 27 mpg at best. And do we really NEED that third row? No, we guess not. Making sure you can take your 91-year-old neighbor on a 10 minute ride once a week sort of IS a silly reason to buy a totally different car. And if we DID buy this new car... that third row is super tight. I mean, my Teeny Tiny Sisters would fit just fine (seriously- why didn't I get THOSE genes?) but normal sized people? Not so much. And buckling a kid into a car seat in that third row might require more agility than Phillip and I possess. Shouldn't we be considering a Real Van? One that would be enough space, even if we had a third kid? A used one, so we'd still manage to get away with no car payment?
I was feeling guilt over wanting a New and Less Fuel Efficient car while Phillip was frowning over whether to just go for a full size van.
But today Phillip went back to the dealer on his own (can you imagine keeping a baby entertained for the duration of a Finalizing The Car Purchase afternoon? During NAP TIME?) and came home with a new car. Which we then immediately piled into because we were late for my grandmother's birthday party an hour away.
So far I love it. It doesn't drive like a van (although perhaps I don't know, as I am used to driving vans that handle like buses) and when you have been driving a diesel for two years, it doesn't take much for you to describe another car as "zippy". It's blue. It has all the fancy stuff, because Phillip's consolation prize for owning a mini minivan is that it will answer his phone for him. It's SO MUCH EASIER to get Jack in and out of a car that has sliding doors and is higher off the ground. I even think it's sort of cute (although, again, I grew up with a van that could seat 85 people.)
But I have an itsy bitsy twinge of something inside. Did we do something dumb? Irresponsible? Silly? Short-sighted? Something we'll regret?
And this is where you all say (or maybe just my mother): OH MY GOD WHO CARES IT'S A FREAKING CAR WE ARE SO SICK OF HEARING ABOUT CARS AAAUUUUGGGGHHHHH.
And then I will say: Suckas! I still have the Story Of Actually BUYING The Car And Why I Should Not Be Allowed To Be Anywhere Near Car Buying Negotiations and the Story Of Why We Traded It In (which is very short, it goes something like "no one wanted to buy it, I am assuming because they are stupid" and also "one of us is very impatient and got tired of no one emailing her, can you guess who?")