This majestic creature is our current vehicle. Tis a noble and loyal beast! Look closely and you can see the stunning Plexiglas side window! Marvel at the dings, dents, and rusted hood! Stare in awe at the collapsed tailgate being held closed with a tie-down strap! Wonder at the magnificent three passenger cab! Be amazed by its staggering 18 highway mpg fuel efficiency!
This is our daily vehicle right now. It was originally kept because it was paid off, and because my husband and I are both motorcycle mechanics who like to pick up the occasional repair here and there…and because my husband rides dirt bikes and I like big Ford trucks. It was never intended to be our primary vehicle. It is an emergency vehicle or a vehicle used for my husband’s simple work commute. Nothing else.
We are very fortunate to at least have something. I won’t ever complain about that. We could be completely stuck without any vehicle at all. So we are lucky to have this big ugly monster.
However, this is not an everyday vehicle. It’s not a family vehicle. It’s a work truck.
Our family vehicle is our car. She is beautiful. She also carries five in relative comfort, and gets 28 highway mpg.
So how will her return help us?
Let’s start with the most obvious, gas money. 18 mpg versus 28 mpg is equal to $200 a month in gas versus $100 (or less) a month. That alone would free up $100 extra dollars a month in our budget. And that $200 figure is only going to and from any location that is within 5 miles of the house all month long. Thankfully, most of the places we go fall into that category.
But heaven forbid we have something, like a job interview, come up. I have to take these very carefully because I could be risking up to $30 out of our budget for one interview.
And that’s not all.
I think I’ve mentioned the adorable little lump in my breast that just keeps getting bigger. If not then, I have one, and it’s getting bigger.
But trying to find a local women’s clinic that takes shared cost medical, or that uses a sliding scale, is nearly impossible. So I’m going to have to go to Planned Parenthood in Orlando, since it’s the closest.
But that’s an hour drive on toll roads, longer if I avoid the tolls. That little trip by itself is a quick $50 in the truck. Right now, a financial variance of as little as $3 can put us deep in the red, so imagine what losing $50, plus a $35 co-pay would do to us.
Not to mention that taking the truck over 60 mph turns it into one of those machines they use to shake nuts out of trees, so what would normally be an hour trip would be even longer in the truck.
But our little car, she could make that trip, even avoiding the tolls, for $15 or less. And since we’d be using her instead of the truck for everyday use, I’d have the money available for the gas and the co-pay.
I won’t have to continue to risk dying! won’t that be amazing?
Now let me talk about the emotional and mental benefit of having my little car back.
My little Mazda isn’t new. She smells faintly of cheese on wet days. There’s no heads up display on her. She didn’t come with GPS. The fanciest thing about her is power windows. We got her when she was a year old. She’s the first thing we ever bought on our own, without help from anyone. She’s an insignificant accomplishment, but she’s still a sign we can do something in this world.
She gives us hope for our future. She lets us feel a little less desperate. Being able to drive her, dents and all, moldy cheese smell and all, instead of a rusty old truck, gives us a little more dignity.
Not having her puts us in a level of deep despair.
While she was here, no matter how bad things got, we could look outside and see that, yes, we had been able to accomplish something in our lives.
She keeps our hope for the future alive. Without her here, we have nothing to show for 60 hours a week of work. Nothing to show for being forced to say “no” to our kids more often than “yes”. Nothing to show for any of our sacrifices.
She’s just a car, I know. But she is worth so much more to us.
She’s just a car. She does her job. She carries us. She moves us forward. And without her, we’re just standing still.
We need her home where she belongs.
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