Old Cars Running

“Dream of children growing, getting married, having children of their own.

Dream of a back porch, a new couch, whatever we want.

Me, I keep these old cars running and wear these tired old clothes.

We’ll get out of this one baby.  We’ll show them who we are.

Baby don’t worry.”

-Andrew Osenga, “Don’t Worry Baby”


    I drive a 2001 Chevy Venture.  It is tan colored.  According to Louie CK, this means I live a sad life, for no one would choose to drive a tan vehicle.  This make and model of van was a huge hit for Chevy, for I see many siblings on the roadways.  There are 3 of our exact vans in our neighborhood.  Mine has one things that makes her stand out.  On the back mirror of our van there is a sticker of a jalepeno pepper with arms, legs, and a great smile.  That sticker has survived all these years, and is why our van is affectionately called "The Pepper."

    Well, The Pepper is showing her age.  The bottom is lined with rust, and a few hoses hang without support in the undercarriage.  Her insides are stained with the journey of two babies to childhood.  The windows don’t roll down anymore, and there are a few ticks that only an owner would know.  

    As I planned out my 2017, I came to a decision; I would buy a new vehicle this year.  I was thinking about a 2010 minivan.  I’ve never bought a car in the same decade it was made.  The thought was… intoxicating.  I began researching online, and found a winner.  I was honestly pumped.  But a funny thing happened on the way to 2018.  You see, the reason I could justify a new car was because the Venture was dying.  I would drive her until she gave up the ghost, and then I would move on.  But it turns out her wound wasn’t fatal.  I might be able to save the old girl.  For much cheaper than I thought.  And honestly, she is a good car that might legit have 100,000 miles left in her.

    So, fix the old busted car for cheap, or drop coin on the new hotness?  The answer is easy.  For a single income home, debt is something we avoid.  To keep ourselves mobile, debt free, and financially wise is of course the best decision.  But man, how quickly did the new hotness come into my mind.  It is crazy how a convenience… nay, a luxury…. can feel so much like a necessity.  I started making up reasons why I NEEDED a new car.  I was trying to talk myself into the purchase.  And to lay it down actually hurt.  It was like laying down a toy that I really wanted.  

    I write all this to finally get to the bottom.  I don’t need the new hotness to be happy.  Spending money won’t heal my hungry heart.  The new hotness quickly becomes the old busted when under the strain of two toddlers and their deluge of cheesy crackers.  The time will come to cross this bridge.  But I am going to start saving now so that when the time does come, I can cross it without putting our family in debt.  Now it’s time for me to go outside and to work on the The Pepper.  Gotta keep this old car running.  

-Ernesto Alaniz

Flint, 2017