A few years ago, my old car (which honestly had always been a bit of a fail, even when it was new) started to act up. Like, every service visit was a rolling disaster of ever more expensive repairs needed to keep it going.

That’s already a moment where the formula has to start to kick in: at what point am I paying more for repairs, and getting less out of them, than I would for a new car?

If I was local all the time, that formula could stretch out pretty far. But with a 90-mile each way commute (even if slightly under two days a week on average), driving around on a vehicle that was on the outs didn’t seem to make sense.

So one Christmas Eve, with a little legwork from my BIL in locating the deals and a little retiree discount acquired through my Dad, I bought a new car. More fuel efficient too, by the way. Super nice not to have to fill the tank every visit to the office. Cool!

Pretty quickly after that though, I realized that if I didn’t have the crazy commute to another state, I really wouldn’t need a car at all.

My folks are just 1 mile away. It’s walkable to see them (weather permitting) … and if we all were going somewhere they’d always give me a lift. Often that somewhere would be to my sister’s place, and I’m basically on their way there. She’s just 15 minutes drive, in a pinch. Peapod delivers. Amazon delivers. Grubhub delivers. Uber, Lyft. Honestly, pre-pandemic I could do without a car, if I didn’t have the commute.

Coronavirus. I am not commuting. Which means the extent of my driving has been almost nil – just dropping things off or popping over to outdoor activities at the folks’ place every once in a great while.

If we were having better weather and/or I didn’t have “stuff” to take with me on any given trip, I could walk everywhere.

Plus, of course, I’m not going anywhere that will require interactions, if I don’t absolutely have to.


The other day I absolutely had to take a package to the UPS Store for drop off. And, you know. Package. To drop off. Stuff to carry. Unwieldy stuff to carry = Not walking there.

So I jumped in the car and…

Well my car is well aware I’m overdue for an oil change.

Of course I am. Because coronavirus. No driving, no going, no doing.

But when the car starts actually telling me, hey I need my oil changed please then I have to think, hey a car is an expensive thing to let go to hell over something as easily resolved as an oil change.

So: Dealership. Appointment.

PS – it was drizzly that morning. It’s good my headlights have an automatic setting, because I literally did not remember how to turn them on. (That is probably because they have an automatic setting, and I never have to. But still.)

So: at the dealership. I had my first “we need to take your temperature ” moment. I had my first “masks are required here” moment.

“Wow, your mileage is really low.”

Uh, yeah. I bet a lot of people’s is. There’s a pandemic, there’s literally nowhere to go.

And of course, the rep I dealt with is the one who doesn’t know how to wear their mask properly.

(Me: Distance. Hover near door to fresh air. Bleach wipe hands after being there because sign here with pen touched by who knows who.)

My car will be fine.

Probably, so will I.

Mask up, y’all!

(Like, literally up: over your mouth and nose.)

Not my car. In Genova, January 2020