Around the Christmas holidays I was dropping off some friends at their car downtown. At this time of year the traffic downtown is totally berserk, with people double parked and the roads at gridlock status.
I was parked in a space in my sweet ride (to steal from Conan O'Brien when he talks about his 1985 Ford Taurus SHO) when a gentleman in a Range Rover decides to sloooowly back up right into the front of my car (he was trying to park in a spot but I was already there). I was holding down the horn but he didn't hear me. Luckily, he was moving only a couple miles an hour and he stopped after he backed into my hood.
The air bags didn't deploy - a friend who was a mechanic said that there is a switch that if the car isn't moving they don't deploy unless it is a very big collision - which is a good thing, because I was laying on the horn and I would have smacked myself in the noggin'.
I got out of the car and he got out of the car and we inspected the damage. His truck was fine but my hood was a bit dented and scratched, and my bumper, too. Of course, my car has already been "citified" which means that the bumper is scuffed up from parking in garages and people dinging into me, and someone tried to break into my car a different time so I have a not-so-great touch up job that I did myself. The long and short of it was that it wasn't too bad, and a friend banged out the dent on my hood and I was able to get off most of the scuff marks with WD40 (I didn't know that worked on scuffs, but it sure does).
The moment of truth referred to in the header of this post is that I had been talking about buying a new car, and I have my eye on a 350Z. That car has great specs, and I watched a commercial in a movie theater that must have been a few minutes long of this car just tooling through Prague with the great muscular engine sounds and ever since I have been hooked (photo credit - Nissan web site).
Have you ever been undecided on something and then flipped a coin? At the moment the coin is in the air, that is when you know what you really want (you have to decide). At that moment, I was thinking, now I have the excuse to buy a new car, and what did I decide?
I decided to keep my old car a few years' longer. Why? Because buying a new car is as close to financial suicide as you can get. Not to say that people don't need a car and if you want to splurge on a new car and can afford it, more power to you, but since I live in the city and hardly drive I will stretch the life on this one for a few more years.
Let's say the car costs $30,000, which means that it costs at least $32,000 by the time you pay taxes and stuff on it (I am ignoring financing, which only makes it all worse). These are all after-tax dollars (unless you can write it off for your business, which if you can do it, is great). $32,000 represents more than what most people save in a year after taxes, which means that if you can defer buying a car essentially you can work for one less year when it comes time to retire. I could run math on this but take my word for it.
So, sadly, I am keeping my Altima for a few more years. That damn car is too reliable! But I can certainly dream a bit more about the 350Z...