Frayed in Full

Whilst driving to work today, I was struck by an interesting phenomenon I had heretofore been ignorant to: the allure of the paid-off car. Last month, Wes and I mailed in our last payment for our trusty Kia car who goes by the name of Kermit. Wes bought the car in 2003, we paid it off five years later, and we ended up paying roughly twice as much as the original price of the car (curse you, interest!) but it’s done. Finito. We have the title, and the car is officially ours.

Before we owned the car outright, he (the car) bore the brunt of many snippy asides, jabs, and jokes at his expense. After all, he is a Kia, and Kia makes their cars with the intention that none of them should make it to 100,000 miles.

Kermit has trouble climbing hills, his doors won’t stay open and love to slam on you when your arms are full of stuff, and he won’t go over 70 mph without his side mirrors making a strange whistling sound that you can hear inside the car. The windows no longer seal the way they should, the little plastic doohickies in the trunk have all fallen off and been lost, and the backseat is not so much a backseat as it is a miniature impersonation of what a Korean car manufacturer thinks a backseat could be like for midgets.

Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that, when I crashed my car going a whopping 3 mph, my car was very nearly totalled (though in the interest of fairness to my completely uncaring {due to being inanimate and all} car, he did drive all the way home from Seattle with a cracked radiator after that accident, which I appreciate, because Seattle is not a good place to wait around for a tow truck).

In short, Kermit is very mockable. What doesn’t help it that his windshield is cracked clear from one side to the other because someone (not me) decided scraping ice was for the weak and turned the defroster up to high heat after the windshield had been sitting in freezing conditions for over a week.

All this to say, his storied history with us notwithstanding, he’s paid for in full and, as such, we don’t mind him as much. Knowing that we have to pay exactly $0 every month for the pleasure of driving him around makes both of us feel downright rosy toward our little Korean combustible.

Isn’t that an interesting phenomenon? It’s like that couch that you love desperately even though it’s stained, frayed, uncomfortable, and has given you a bad back but you adore it anyway because it’s free and the story of how you got it is mildly amusing.

This is not to say that we won’t be sad to see Kermit go, though. No, in the future when we buy our next car with cold, hard cash we probably won’t even shed a tear for poor old Kermit. Really, at over 70,000 miles, he’s like that old Eskimo that you put on an iceberg and float off into the sunset. He’s served his purpose, and well, but it’s time for him to go float to Russia so that he can find his true calling as a docent at the Kremlin.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *