Brains are funny, or how we became a one car family (finally)

I just sold my car and I’m feeling pretty emotional about it. In some ways I’m relieved – it had turned into a giant money pit and space hog – and in others I’m incredibly sad.

Like many Californians, getting my drivers license was a huge coming of age thing for me. I got it about two months after I turned 16, even though my parents wanted me to wait. (mom hadn’t learned to drive until she was 27) Finally I just made the appointment with the DMV, which worked in that I got the license, but I wasn’t actually allowed to drive for a few months after that. For all but about 8 months of my driving career, I’ve been driving the car I just sold. It had been limping along the last 5 years, radiator problems, weird over-heating problems no one could diagnose, a never ending string of “check engine light” indicators, but it was my car.

It was my car, in the way that it provided me a way of getting away in a rough time in my life. My parents are great, but we did not get along well my last couple years of high school. It really can’t be overstated how much I valued the freedom being able to drive provided me. When I moved out, the car stayed home for the first two years, then joined me in San Diego. It was there, hauling my stuff, for the next 7 years. It saw me through the disastrous year where I had to move three times. (I do not recommend this) And it got me safely back and forth to my first grown-up job. It was a good car.

For the last six month though, it had been sitting in my parking spot, just sitting. Couldn’t drive it, because it overheated like crazy and couldn’t be trusted to get me back home safely. Couldn’t fix it because while I couldn’t find out what exactly was wrong, it was assuredly something expensive. We’d been functionally operating as a one car family for a solid six months before I finally gave up the car. Even though it wasn’t providing me with that freedom any more, and even though I’m at a point in my life where I don’t need a car to provide me with freedom, it was really hard to let it go. No matter how much intellectually I knew the car needed to go, my brain kept screaming “but I need it!” to me. Finally letting it go is like ripping a band-aid off. It stings right now, but I’ll get over it.

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