Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thankful Thursday: 100,000

My car rolled over 100,000 miles today. I remember when Toyota commercials featured their happy owners leaping into the air to celebrate this milestone. The company slogan at the time, I think, was "Oh, What a Feeling!"

After looking forward to this moment for a few days, I actually managed to miss it during my normal commute, noticing as I exited the freeway that I was already at 100,003. Even then, I was not overcome by some overwhelming feeling reserved for this occasion. But I was grateful to have reliable transportation that has taken me a lot of places in the last couple of years, and hopefully will hold out for a few more years and a lot more miles.

I place a pretty high value on independence and the freedom I have to just hop in the car and go whenever I feel like it. Definitely with energy costs fluctuating, I have done that with greater awareness of the cost, but I am fortunate to have the options I do because I have a car.

At the same time, I sometimes think about how great it would be to not have to own a car. In college I lived in London for a semester and loved everything about the convenience of public transportation in a big city. Where I live now, it's just not possible to function without a car, but I would love to live in a place with that option. Part of that is the lessened environmental impact, but the other part of it is that owning a car involves ongoing maintenance and repairs that only increase with the car's age.

My brother and my dad have both helped me out with minor repairs, fixing brakes and replacing batteries, and offering advice on bigger problems. But I find all of it a big hassle. I hate messing with it. I hate taking the car in for an oil change and hearing from the technician about all the other things I should have fixed. Naturally, this is at some cost I find completely objectionable, so I decline... and then suddenly the price is halved. I'm dreading my next tire rotation, because they let me know last time that it's getting close to time for new tires.

But that's the price of the independence that the car allows me. It's necessary to keep the car in good running condition so I will get the most life out of it, and maybe even get a few bucks when I eventually decide it's time for a different car. It's the responsibility I have because I am blessed enough to own a car.

In other words, it's all in how I look at it. So today I choose to see the blessing in it, and be thankful.

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