Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Buying Stuff like a Real Grown Up

It’s raining.
Yesterday it was gorgeous. Not too much sun, not too many dark clouds, and the wind was blowing a little. My husband and I walked around on a car lot looking at cheap (> $5000) vehicles. We had a pile of cash and a need for something that could be used to drive us around the city for the foreseeable future. It was our first time buying a car.
Walking around, nervous about the whole car-shopping experience, I couldn’t help but remember the first adult purchase we ever made. You know what I mean by “adult purchase.” When you’re a kid with your own money, you buy candy, toys, IBC Root Beer, video games, clothes, shoes, cosmetics, or sporting equipment for yourself. When you’re an adult, you can buy all of those things, but a truly “adult” purchase is something that not only usually costs a ton of money but also has been carefully considered and weighed, and its use is projected over years instead of minutes or hours.
I remember standing in the middle of Men’s Wearhouse on 53rd and O Street, and freaking out a little. “It’s so much money!” I’d said. “I need them,” my practical husband had replied. We paid eleven hundred dollars for those two suits, and every interview my husband has had since has been in one or the other of them.
Yesterday, sitting in the the dealership’s business manager’s office, we recalled that acquisition. “We probably paid too much for them,” my husband admitted. “I dunno, less than six hundred bucks per suit? Think about how much you’ve used them!” He acknowledged my point with a nod as the business manager returned to collect the money we had agreed to pay for our “new” car.
Just because you’re making an “adult purchase” doesn’t mean you have to be absolutely serious the whole time. When my husband pulled out the cash, we both bid “Uncle Beeeen!” a fond farewell; we are both going to miss the money we worked so hard for (so hard, in fact, that those hundreds have almost become part of the family).
I was in a different emotional state when that money was taken away than I was when I wrote a check in 2008. Both times, I knew that the thing that we were buying was something necessary. I wonder if it’s just because I’m more of an adult now than I was then, since this time, I was totally cool about it. I’m more excited that we made a purchase than worried about the amount we spent.
I thought about it while we waited for the car to be washed. Maybe it’s because I know we’re free and clear.  I could have wrecked that thing on the way home, and since we saved up the money and paid for the whole thing in cash, we wouldn’t have had to argue about how we were going to make the car payment on a totaled car for the next couple of years.
Don’t worry, we got it home okay. It sat in our driveway last night, sparkly and clean.
And of course, today it’s raining.
TauTau is a ruby red 2003 Ford Taurus.
Serve us well, TauTau, we're not in Kansas anymore.

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