Punxsutawney Phil popped out of his hole on Gobbler's Knob and saw his shadow, letting us know that winter will continue to drag on. Barack Obama stuck his head out of the Oval Office and saw the media, letting us know that the current recession will linger on for several more months. Meanwhile, we who are neither President nor groundhog continue to find ways to divert ourselves from the obvious.
For example: I saw a car parked on the street as I rode my bike home this evening. It had a "For Sale" sign taped in the back window. I did a double-take, because the price was $1,300. Some mental math told me that it was only $420 more than my first car. Both of them were used, and this one had the distinction of being some thirty years newer than the Vega I bought back in 1979. Did I mention the car for sale was a Mercedes Benz?
This is where my reverie began to unfurl. My younger brother bought a Mercedes when he was building his initial empire as a grocery checker back in high school. It was a beautiful thing, with leather interior and real wood on the dash. He even gave it a name: Cecilia. The car I saw would never be mistaken for Cecilia, but it was a four-door Mercedes.
What could possibly be so very wrong with any car that it would cost that much? You wouldn't need to drive it that much. You could live in the back seat to avoid the hassle of refinancing your mortgage, and just move it twice a month on street-sweeping days. Cars for a thousand dollars and gas for two dollars a gallon? How could I afford not to own it?
Then reality clicked back on. We just spent three hundred dollars making our other car work. I get plenty of exercise riding back and forth to school. Fuel for me is somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty cents a gallon. And if I had a car, how would I spend my time wondering when Spring will finally come?