November 23, 2007

I Am Tired of Being Rational About Cars

Doesn't it say... Buy me?

Since 1999, I've had one boring, American-built, cheap, not impressive, dirty, car. As I've watched the miles pile up, to more than 130,000 at this point, the car's held up, for the most part, but in the go-go Silicon Valley, I'm simply not measuring up. It seems, incorrectly or not, that everybody else has a nice car. A BMW. A Lexus. A Porsche. Or they got kids and traded up to an SUV, often a massive bulk of a beast with all the bells and whistles, including satellite radio, GPS, in-seat DVD players... you name it.

Meanwhile, the only "upgrade" my car's had in the last 8 years was when I put in a 10-disc CD changer in the trunk no less than six months after I got it. Wheeee....

At this moment, my car's sitting parked on the street, in the gutter, appropriately. If I turned it on, two warning lights would display: "Service Engine Soon" and "Low Coolant". Service engine soon, huh? How soon? Two days? Two weeks? What happens if I don't?

On two separate occasions in the last few months, that light came on, only to go off again by the time I reached a service station, and they couldn't do anything. Flipping brilliant.

So, I've started to poke around the Web and look for cars I can't afford. I can rationalize ditching my 1998 Mercury Tracer. I can even think about making monthly payments for a car again, after years of not having to do so. I might even stomach a down payment, if I take money out of eTrade. But the sticker shock is a sight to behold. It's around $40k to get anything I really want, like an Audi A4 Convertible or a BMW 3-series. And yes, I know maybe I should get a Prius or a Hybrid Camry, but that sounds boring, and after a decade of boring, cheap, cars, I am ready to waste my money and have some fun, before that window closes.

So... I want a nice-looking car, with deep dark blue coloring. I want a car that has GPS navigation and Sirius/XM Radio pre-installed. I want a car that won't have the brake light on the first 10 minutes I drive it every morning like mine does now. I want a car that doesn't look like I am the hired help every time I visit Palo Alto, Woodside or Menlo Park. I want to have a car that's as good looking as my MacBook Pro or flat screen TV. A car that's more iPhone than rotary phone, one that's good enough I'll have to park two parking spaces away from anyone to worry about dings.

Think I should do it? Part of me wants to hit the buy button and damn the consequences.