Saturday, January 17, 2009

What do Shopping for a new Car and Meditation have to do with Each Other?

No, this is not a joke. Did you know that shopping for a new car is lot about ego enhancement. Choice of car is all about matching your image of yourself with a physical manifestation of an object that will propel you around.

Our 11 year Subaru wagon recently bit the dust at the end of our last trip to Almonte. We were really hoping that it would last a bit longer till we returned from travelling and were ready to pick up car payments again. But the car had a mind of its own. So we set about looking for a cheap replacement. Suddenly we were looking for one of those cheap American cars that they always use at car rental stores. They're all ubiquitous and look a lot the same, but with different names. Some a bit smaller or a bit larger, but otherwise very standard.

It was humbling to wander into dirty car mechanic waiting rooms asking for any car that was certified, but cost less than $3000, the price we had been told it would cost to put a new engine into our old car. The second mechanic we spoke with told me he had the car for me- a Dodge Stratus. Now, do any of you get a picture in your mind when you hear that? Unbeknownst to most of you, I'm a bit of a car aficonado. I can tell you what most cars are at a glance, and usually have an opinion about that kind, whether good or bad, or powerful, or gas-efficient, or built-to-last, or a host of other details. So to go looking for a car based solely on price and the abilitiy to get our finances through the next 6 months is humbling. I didn't know that this knowledge was a part of my self identity.

"I am a car driver of a ..." is an important defining statement for me. Or at least it was. For the next 6 months we will be driving a maroon car. It's not really me driving it. I locked my car ego in the trunk of our Subaru as the tow truck towed it away on Friday, never to be seen again. At least not till next year when I go searching for another car!

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