I was at the Ford dealership recently for a minor repair on my 2010 Ford Escape. When I picked up my service paperwork, one of the printed boxes indicated – Delivery date: 8/20/2009. Wow! I’ve never had a vehicle, that I purchased new, reach its 10th birthday. And although I’ve been thinking recently that I need to get a new car (for a number of reasons) I’ve been reluctant to do so, always putting it off just a little bit longer.
In my younger days, I believed that I would always have a rent/mortgage payment and a car payment. And I did, for years and years. But I’ve been without a car payment for five years now and it’s been pretty great. Sure, my ride has some rust on the fender above the rear wheel wells (and also under the driver door), and it makes a few noises that other cars don’t make. “Is that your car?” my friend asked the other day listening to a clicking – whir while we idled at a stop light. “I don’t think so,” I said. But at the next light I had to admit it appeared to be my car making the noise. I don’t usually hear it, as I’m typically engrossed in an audio book.
My first car was a 79 Ford Mustang, purchased in 1982. Nineteen seventy-nine was NOT a good year for the Mustang. In retrospect, the Fox body hatchback wasn’t particularly attractive and I paid as much for car repairs as I did in car payments during the first three months of ownership. I thought I was super cool in my Mustang, but mostly I was just broke.
Since the days of being stranded on the side of the road by my Mustang, I’ve been lucky enough to have reliable transportation, although not always in the style I’ve preferred. I still remember the jealousy I felt over MOH having a sporty new pick-up truck while I was driving a dreaded four-door sedan that allowed us easy access to our son’s car seat. My Mercury Sable (which I ended up liking quite a lot) was followed by back to back minivans until I landed in my sweet Escape during the Cash for Clunkers promotion.
I love my Escape and am finding it hard to give her up. These days, I’m less concerned with what my vehicle looks like and what kind of ornamentation is hanging from my rear view mirror, and more concerned with the ease of getting in and out of the vehicle. Also, they say we become our parents as we age, and I guess I’m channeling a bit of my dad.
As the story goes, my parents, who at the time had one income and three young children, were walking to their car after church. My mother commented that she was embarrassed by the state of our car sitting in the church parking lot. “Really,” said my dad clearly surprised. “I was just thinking how nice it is to have it paid off.” Me too, Dad. Me too.