So I’ve got the new car.
People around me seem to expect me to feel excited. I’ve blogged and posted on Facebook complaints about the purchase process. I was nervous about buying a new car, and now that I have it I’m nervous about owning it.
Why don’t I feel excited? At this point in my life, it’s the most expensive purchase I’ve ever made. The new car has many features my old car doesn’t have. I kept my old car for 18 years, and I’ll try to keep this one at least that long, so it’s not as if I buy a new car every day. What’s not to be excited about?
To understand why I’m not excited, we have to set the WABAC machine to 1998. I’d just gotten a new car, the one that I’ve just set aside. I was excited about that new car, in part because the car prior to that was associated in my mind with an unpleasant memory (Winterstar 1994, for those who knew me back then). Here I was, with a brand-new mini-SUV, with more power and better styling than I had before.
Then Pepper got sick. Only my friends who’ve known me for more than 20 years will remember Pepper. She was my first cat. She bonded to me the first day we met. She loved me. She trusted me. She was more physically affectionate towards me than any other cat in my life. I would take her to the vet by wrapping her in a towel and holding her in my arms. She wasn’t happy about it, but she loved and trusted me that much.
On the last day of her life, I drove her to the vet to be put to sleep. I didn’t want the new car anymore. I wanted Pepper, and she was dying, paralyzed and in pain, and that new car didn’t and couldn’t help.
That car was a good, long-lasting, reliable vehicle that kept me safe for 18 years. At any point during that time, I’d’ve given it away if it would have brought Pepper back to me.
The day before Mist passed away, my father called me. He knew I was having problems with my car, and he offered to help me with the purchase. I burst into tears. I told him I couldn’t talk about it, not then. I didn’t say this to him, but I didn’t give a damn about a new car. I wanted Mist to be well again.
So here I am with a new car. Pepper and Mist are still gone. The new car is nice. It’s just that it’s not important to me compared to those I’ve loved and lost.