No Car

I went car shopping today, and I didn’t buy a car. Nothing happened, and yet this seems noteworthy enough to briefly write about in my blog.

Before I looked, I was terribly apprehensive. The notion of further debt weighed on my mind heavily. Not only would I have car payments, but I would have to pay for gas, insurance, and maintenance. It would be a hassle. I also worried that it could hinder any future plans to move out. For some reason, the idea of a big purchase also brought out this odd spiritual side to me, and I resented another possession weighing me down. Yes, I could go anywhere, but it was a false freedom: I would always have to feed the car with gas and money.

In the end, I decided not to buy a car. My choice instead was to save up enough money to buy a car outright, instead of dealing with financing. This made financial and spiritual sense: I wouldn’t have debt tying me to this possession.

I should be happy with this solution. Yet driving the car infected me with want. I found the car I desired in the color I desired. I drove it, and my mind began to take possession of it. So, I was sad to see it go, but luckily during the entire process, I forced my rational mind to take precedence over any other part of my mind. I suppose if you subscribe to Plato’s theory of mind, my spirited side buttressed the rational mind. With the danger gone, though, the hungry, desiring mind is left to muse on what could have been.

I guess I’m a little more understanding of the saints and monks who want to escape from this. I, too, want relief.

2 thoughts on “No Car

  1. Lloyd Nebres

    Just curious, since this whole notion begs what seems to me an obvious question… did you go shopping for a car because you now need one? If you don’t need a car, why did you go shopping for one in the first place?

    (As you might know, I bought my first ever car recently; before that, in all my 49 years of existence, I had never needed to own a car.)

  2. Shawn R. McDonald Post author

    I kind of thought I needed one because of my situation during the summer. I’m working two jobs, and I have to drive from Berkeley to Santa Clara two days a week. I thought it would be too hard to BART and then drive.

    But I learned that I can borrow a car from my parents for these days, so I don’t have to buy my own car quite yet.

    I like knowing that you didn’t own a car for so long. It encourages me to think really hard before purchasing one.

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