My husband and I have always agreed that a car is not something worth taking out a loan for, so we’ve only ever owned second-hand cars. This has meant that over the years we’ve had to deal with a higher number of explosions and similar inconveniences than our new-car-driving friends, but once you’ve moved your dead vehicle out of the middle of Cleveland Street and found your way home, it’s a great story, right? Besides, it’s truly liberating to be able to respond with nonchalance upon finding that someone has scraped a good chunk of paint from all of the panels on one side of your car while you were inside shopping for milk and tissues.
I loved our first car, a zippy Mitsubishi Lancer, but it could barely fit more than 2 people inside it, let alone a baby, pram and nappy bag, so we found a replacement car a few weeks before our son was born and sold the little Lancer soon after. Our Magna, the replacement car, was not at all zippy. It was a sensitive soul, which is a kind way of saying that it broke down whenever anything important was about to happen for which we would need a working vehicle (Magna: We’re moving tomorrow and you expect me to take some stuff?! I CAN’T COPE WITH THIS KIND OF PRESSURE! *refuses to start*).
It would also let out a deafening scream to let outsiders know how hard it was working to keep its passengers air-conditioned, which regularly embarrassed my husband and caused many an argument in classy neighbourhoods (Me: I DON’T CARE WHAT THE RICH PEOPLE THINK IT’S TOO HOT ARE YOU WILLING TO KILL ME JUST FOR THE SAKE OF IMPRESSING THESE STRANGERS YOU CRUEL CRUEL MAN) or around the police (Me: ARRESTED SHMARRESTED I DON’T CARE WHAT THE POLICE THINK IT’S TOO HOT ARE YOU WILLING TO KILL ME JUST FOR THE SAKE OF NOT PAYING A FINE YOU CRUEL CRUEL MAN). We did find the Magna on Gumtree, full of camping equipment, and paid just $2000 for it, so we weren’t too surprised by its neuroses. Our Magna served us as well as it could for 2 years, and kindly let us know a couple of days before our rego was due that it was dying for real this time. That was last month, and, after about 5 minutes of mourning, my husband went out on his bike to find us our new used car.
We’re now the proud owners of a Toyota Camry, a shnazzy silver one, and by far and away the flashiest car we’ve owned. If the Lancer said, “I’m young and hip and easy to park,” and the Magna said, ”I’m pretending to be grown up but really I just want to go backpacking around Australia,” the Camry says, “I am a serious family car. I will even change gears for you.” Our cars pretty much tell the story of our transformation over the last almost-5 years since our wedding day. I don’t like to think ahead about what the car after this one will say about the next stage of our lives, but hopefully I won’t have to find that out for at least another 8-or-so mostly-car-drama-free years. Mr Camry assures me he’s completely on board with this plan.