Thursday, May 3, 2012

I'm considering souping up my car a bit. Don't get too excited, as that little money sucking project gets in line behind buying a house, moving, new furniture, and two upcoming cross country trips this summer. But I recently got four new tires and the suspension repaired and it's made me feel all sassy.

I proudly drive an old Honda Civic. My commute is 6 miles, I rarely go anywhere else besides work, Trader Joe's and Target, and we live in a densely packed area of the city where parking is always tight. Most people around here drive smaller vehicles, and I don't ever have to be nervous that someone might ding me in a parking lot or use the bumper to guide them as they parallel park. My constant companion is a four year old boy, so the car is always filled with small toys, crumbs, old band aids, stickers, rocks, sticks, sand and empty juice boxes.

What I've started to get lately is attitude from panhandling homeless guys. I must admit, I've always figured I'm less of a target then the guy driving the Audi with dealer plates still on it, since if I could afford to give you a five spot would I be driving this car? Amirite? Except now, instead of the usual nod and moving on that I've gotten for years, I'm starting to get an extra once over of my car and the sneering, tsking head shake. "Hey Buddy!" I want to yell. "You live under the 101 and beg on the exit ramp at night. Perhaps you should not be judging my lifestyle choices!"

I know this town loves their cars. Status is everything. Everybody leases so they can get a new car in two years, because that is what is important. I've turned into my father, snubbing my nose at all of it and driving an old car because I can.

It's old, with almost 160,000miles on it, but it's not a shit box. It runs well, and I keep it in good condition. It has all the hubcaps and no mismatched quarter panels or anything. I think Kelley Blue Book would call it Good to Excellent. My model and year STILL get stolen, mostly for parts, but it is also desirable to the street racer kids.

Which is where the souping up comes in. The delivery kid from the local sushi place drives a sweet little souped up something and it got me thinking about it seriously. I don't have to paint it all matte black with an orange racing stripe like his, but what would a paint job, some window tints and new hubcaps run me? At least new floor mats and a steam cleaning of the upholstery and carpet. There won't be a car seat in the back forever!

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