Friday, January 4, 2013

Paying Off Cars and the Passage of Time

To keep my interest up (and after the bumper needed repair),
I decided to upgrade "Rusty."
I was just disucssing time with my sister. In the past 5 years, she's had two children, after having been married since the nineties. I've discovered that the passage of time is not just subjective, but different in relation to different things. Whenever we got together in the past, the passage of time was incidental. Other than gaining or losing weight, things remained pretty much the same between us whether it was 3 months or 18 months between visits. I've seen her perhaps a little over a dozen times since she first got pregnant, and now each visit is vastly different. There are monumental changes in her life, from my perspective, though they are probably slower for her.

In a similar way, perspective of time around other things in life can be skewed. I've been in the same job for 16 years, been in the same relationship for 15, the same house for 14, the same cat for 10, and until I bought my most recent car, drove the same Jeep for more than 9 years. Passage of time on my end was especially hard to gauge during these years. Pegging what happened in any given year between 1999 and 2011 is very difficult, outside of earth-shaking events. What year did I buy the fridge? When was that trip to Ensenada? When did Six Feet Under go off the air? All of these things are kind of hazy. And they can feel simultaneously recent and a long time ago.
. . .so, I didn't let them drill the bumper for a license plate,
and I got some "eyelids" to streamline the appearance.

Such it is with my current car. I bought it in early 2010, and it was a bit over a year old. But it was the newest car I've ever owned, and since it was replacing a 11-year-old vehicle, it might as well have been brand new. Also, seeing as how it replaced a Jeep, it might as well have been a luxury car. 2010 as a date seems distant, but the purchase of the car seems recent. Paying a monthly payment for 35 months (I paid off the loan a month early) felt like a very long time, but I still look at my car and see it as my new(ish) car. The car itself was built in August 2008, meaning it's going to actually be five years old this year, even though it's a 2009. 2008--having been in the Bush era--feels like a long time ago.

I may get a spoiler to pass the time. . .
Due to frustration with the Bush era, I started this blog in June 2007, which if you do the math is over 5-1/2 years ago, though it spans seven. In this case, it does feel like a long time, a really long time.  Life itself wasn't all that different then for me, though. Since then, we've gotten a new big screen HDTV, and shed all of our old fashioned glass-tube televisions and computer monitors. I've gone through two Macs and at least 4 PCs. We replaced our grill (originally purchased the weekend I met The Other Half), upgraded our stereo, gone through a couple of DVD players, then upgraded those to Blu-ray. And The Other Half got his own new car.  I did get a part time, work-at-home job.Otherwise, life here is pretty much the same.

And I'll almost certainly get a nifty new radio.
But my car is now paid off, and I'll get to experience more fuzzy time between getting the title, and years down the line where I either get new-car lust, old-car hate, or go (late) middle-age crazy. You never know though, a gas crisis could change everything, and my next car could be a whole different animal. That would freeze time for moment, wouldn't it?

For now, I'm going to be marking time by tarting up "Rusty" over the next year. First up will be a blue-tooth capable, touch-screen stereo that will work for today (CD/MP3/DVD) and tomorrow (USB/iPhone/Android input), and a back-up camera. That will quash the new car lust, at least for the nifty new toys. Later, I'll probably get a spoiler. It's not too pricey, and will give the ol' gal a little more sleek appearance. Beyond that, it will just be the inevitable upkeep: tires, brakes, washing.  I won't mind that I can't place when any of that happens.  The best part is that I won't have a car payment for several years.

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