My next door neighbor is out there in her garage again wiping down her Jaguar; she’s named him Javier. As she polishes his headlights – again! – I wonder: is the pleasure she derives from driving such a high maintenance car really worth it? Sure, he looks great out on the road and she feels like the million bucks of envy she generates in many of her fellow commuters, but is he a good investment? Not only was Javier’s acquisition expensive, his maintenance costs thousands of dollars a year and his fuel economy is practically nonexistent. Is that few moments a day – okay, in California it’s more likely a few hours – of highway glory she feels sitting in his driver’s seat worth the slavish devotion keeping him happy demands? Honestly, I think not. If it takes too much effort with very little more than shallow satisfaction in return, he’s not worth it to me. I’ll pass.
My car, on the other hand, is far more practical. Hans (yes, while he’s not as high maintenance he, too, has a name) is far from effort-free; I still give him lots of love and attention – occasionally I even polish his headlights, too – but he doesn’t demand that my life revolve around him. Hans is dependable, fun and – most important – he helps me get where I want to go when I want to be there. We work well together. Yes, I feel good when I’m with him, but what anyone else thinks is irrelevant. Hans keeps me happy and it doesn’t cost me an arm and both legs.
While I’m sure it exists, I have yet to experience a car that requires you provide it no maintenance. Even a little care goes a long way. But if the extent of your attention is a quick fill-up every now and then – and you’re only really concerned when the red warning lights signal you need to do something post-haste – before you know it, you’ll deservedly be a pedestrian once again.