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Two Months

It has been a little over two months since I returned my 350Z to the dealership at the end of my three year lease. I really loved that car. Its teardrop profile, smooth handling, fully featured interior, and get-up-and-go made it a joy to drive. Alas, winter in New England did not mix with a rear wheel drive car outfitted with high performance summer tires. Yes, I could have switched tires for the winter months, but the thought of dropping another thousand just to pretend I could drive in winter never really appealed to me.

I debated quite some time about what I would do after I returned my Z. I researched plenty of cars, went to a few dealerships, but never made it past just looking. The nail in the coffin of getting the Z in the first place was the first time I drove it. Part of the reason I didn't want to go any further in the process was a conscious realization that I was "becoming" a yuppie. Some that known me content that is already the case. I still delude myself and say that it is more a case of selective affluence.

While I could have bought and afforded many of the cars I was looking at, it felt wrong. Not wrong at the level of being evil, more wrong at the level of I should know better. I grew up modestly and while I lament that I can't remember as much of my childhood as I would like, what I do remember is not cause for alarm. The most recent issue of Details has a series of articles about yuppies and one of the comments mentioned in Jeff Gordinier's "The Return of the Yuppie" piece reminded me of my car debate:

Douglas Coupland told People "When you've 27 or 28, your body starts emmiting the Sheraton enzyme. You can no longer sleep on people's floors." By 37, the Sheraton enzyme mutates into the Four Season endorphin.

The same thing was happening to me, but with cars. The Dodge Omni I had as my first car was a distant past to what I was considering now. I had to step back and really wonder just what was going on. It wasn't so much shying away from what limited success I've had in my career, but instead wondering more about how I wanted to express it? I'm still trying to figure that one out. Inspiration should come from groups like "Living Life Below Your Means" which is active on the The Motley Fool. Alas, I've not found myself perusing those forums.

Instead of jumping into something that I might regret, I instead chose to delay the choice. I'm now a member of Zipcar. Easy access to a car when I need it, but not close enough to be more tempting than I want it to be. Two months car less has helped me discover what I would really want a car for. Highest on that list is the mundane task of grocery shopping. This is just what Zipcar was designed for. Enter in that not quite as close as I would like factor and it is a trade-off.

Peapod has filled the grocery gap, but not always to my complete satisfaction. Last time we went shopping online which was a couple of weeks ago, Peapod did not offer Eggnog as an online option. There are also many other products that are easily found in the stores but not online. Some of them fall into the yuppie category, but in general I'm willing to put money there as the hippie-go-crunchy products I feel are better tasting and more sustainable.

This leaves me in the position that I still might want to get a car, since while grocery shopping is highest on the list, trips to visit friends and explore the area are also on the list and full day Zipcar rentals get to be as bad as a car payment. I will have to see what inspiration the new year brings.

Tags: 350z life