A Blast of the Past #18: The Car

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Betsy and I have only owned one new car each in our lives. It happens to be the same car, and we bought it in the spring of 1998. I remember it being bought at the end of April, almost on my birthday. That is how I remember when we bought it.

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It was at the end of the model season. We had been looking at and eyeing Saturns. When we went to the dealership I did a test drive of the manual shift — because it was that much cheaper that we could afford it. Betsy, who had never driven a stick shift, took her turn with a test drive, and we decided to buy.

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The one disappointment was the color. End of model season we had to take what was available: gray. Betsy had owned a gray car before, and the one color she did not want was gray. We got gray. We still have gray, the same car, after 17 years.

We still drive the same new car; its our new car, after all these years. 228K miles and going strong.

Over the years people have asked why we don’t have two cars. We’ve always managed with one. Bus, bike, walking. The one car has fit our family of four, now all adult-sized. Never moved up to the minivan. And now we’ll never need anything larger.

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Knowing when you have reached the size you need, not always going for more, is a real achievement for Americans. We are encouraged to do bigger (and allegedly better), all the time.

Our new car has been our new car, our fun, all these years, our right size.

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