Skip to content

All Growned Up

I remember when I got the last payment for my Kia Rio in the mail. It was autumn 2006, and we were still living at Versailles on the Lake, which meant I picked up the mail on my way to the apartment after work.

In autumn 2006, Sonja was pregnant, we were looking to buy a house, and I was pretty happy with my job at ACS. We were doing alright.

And I can remember coming across that last payment for that car and thinking “Wow; I own my car. I’m all growned up now.” None of those other things had pushed me over that mental threshold; it took paying off my cheap Korean car.

We took Dewey (that’s the Rio’s name) in to the shop last week and were told that my $10k college car needed $2.5k work done. We balked. That was a bit ridiculous: was it worth putting that much money into the car at this point?

And so we unexpectedly found ourselves looking at new cars last Wednesday. I have long wanted a Prius, so that was where we started, and that was where we were Saturday when we were test-driving, and that was where we ended up. We got a Silver Pine Mica Prius with Option Pack #6 (the works).

I’m very excited. It’s a big tech toy I can drive!

But what struck me as we went through the process was how totally, totally different it was since the last time I was buying a car, back in 2002 when I was in college and buying Dewey, my first car. Then, I had gone out looking for something crazy cheap. I had gotten a terrible rate for the financing. I had co-signed the loan with my parents. And I was giddy with the possibility of buying a car, and I am painfully aware that it showed and I got a worse deal because of it.

But this time, we went out looking for a specific model of car that we had researched online quite extensively. I kept my excitement in check. The dealer treated us better, and we got a much better deal on the car. We were laughing with the financing guy and telling jokes back and forth. It felt like, well, I felt all growned up.