One of life's little "hoorays!" – the day you pay off your car. Three years ago, a dear friend offered me her 1990 VW New Beetle. It had 7,400 miles on it. Today it turned 15,600. On Friday I make the last payment. It will be mine. I drive about six miles a day, five days a week. The car's tires still have those little nubs on them that they get when they're pulled from their molds.
My friend took such good care of the car, I felt a debt to treasure it. Before this I had a new Passat. My old college roomate wants me to get a Lexus. Which brings me to the question of the day: Why would I do that? For six miles a day? The-soon-to-be-mine Beetle has a great air-conditioner and heater. The sound system's fine. It's comfortable, handles perfectly well. And I fill up the fuel tank about once a month. Regular gas, BTW. There's not a blemish on its blue body, I have the brakes, engine, lubricants and belts checked and maintained every 2,500 miles and it's washed and waxed every ten days. The agency's done all of the updates, in fact it's still under a limited warranty.
It drives quietly, there's no wear on the carpets or pedals, the inside's so clean there's a new car smell.
They don't seem to chortle at me when I drive it to the country club or the symphony. And as an editor and writer, hell - everybody expects some kind of eccentricity, eh?
Today I stopped at the agency. I sat in an Audi.