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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Restlessness, Toyota, and Our Fine Neighbor to the South

One minute, all my documents listed "C." as my middle initital; the next, they mysteriously changed to read "R." "R" for Restless. Yes, work has me trapped, and upcoming nuptials dictate my free time, leaving little space for my shiatsu practice to grow. I can't grow the practice without time, but I don't have free time, because I have to work. Meanwhile, my '96 vehicle grows softer and softer, a little less tight, its paint a little more (unevenly) faded, each day. It's not paid off yet, either.

And so, unable to travel until after said nuptials (July), I've channeled all my energy into obsessively watching DVDs of "Rick Steves' Europe" checked out from the library, coveting a new car, and baking. And Lo, Toyota built a brand-new model I could actually sort of afford, even though I'm engaged to a graduate student and hoping to quit my job in favor of a fancy-free shiatsu career as soon as humanly possible (which feels like at least a decade away).

Today I took a test drive in the Yaris sedan, an attractive little car with great gas mileage and working air conditioning. (My current auto has theoretical A/C.) I fell rather in love with the peppy little vehicle. Its red paint was uniformly deep and shiny! There's no need to plan out braking well in advance! Its engine is so quiet!

Back at the dealership, we calculated that with $2000 down, the car payments would cost about $280 a month. This seemed reasonable, but I needed to think about it. On the third attempt, we extracted ourselves from the helpful grip of our salesman and headed home.

While my cardamom cake baked and I drowsily watched Rick Steves tour Bulgaria, cat asleep across my legs, I turned over the question of the car. The timer dinged, and G. joined me on the couch for Rick's tour of Turkey and some unbelievably fluffy cake. (Who knew you could make a cake with yeast?)

The Turkish people got around in wooden carts pulled by pathetically skinny horses. Fueled by cake and inspired by Rick, my brain drew up and image of my friend Nicole. Nicole and I once discussed the silliness of expensive engagement rings. She said, "I measure the value of items in terms of trips to Italy. Is a big diamond really worth several trips to Italy? I'd rather have an inexpensive ring and a proposal in Florence."

I sat down with my calculator. Although the Yaris is relatively inexpensive, it would cost 1.5 trips to Mexico annually. (Two trips if we stayed at G's uncle's house in San Miguel.)

I made G. promise we'd go to Mexico in the winter, and promised myself to splurge on painting my own car.


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