One way, used cars. Tom's a mechanic after all. It works, for us.
We haven't made car payments for over 20 years. I think we only made payments for about 9 months, in triplicate, to pay off a little used pickup. Other than that, yep, 27 years of used cars. Not hideous used cars, no. Ours have been sweet, accommodating, dependable, pretty, tidy, comfy, safe, and sometimes even sporty 'previously owned' cars.
We bought Joe's 4x4 Trooper from him over a year ago, maybe two. Can't remember. How I love that little red rig! It has a manual transmission, with a 5th gear. Drives like a dream. Neither Tom nor I have ever placed a decal or bumper sticker on a car of ours, but Joe wanted to express himself, and it was his car first, so Pete, our Trooper, bears several little window decals stating those in-your-face sentiments.
YOU all laugh because I'M different, I laugh because YOU'RE all the same.
It's better to be hated for who you are than loved for who you are not.
Don't interrupt me when I'm talking to myself.
He gets that talking to oneself habit from me, from my mom's side of the family. (My grandma always said, when we'd catch her muttering away to herself, "Sometimes it's the most sensible person to talk to." True. True.)
Anyway, back to Pete.
There's a Primus decal, featuring Old School Skeeter, on the lower right corner of the back window, where all the decals stick. Primus. The band that is counterculture, or is it counter-counterculture? I don't know. I DO know that I get a lot of waves and smiles from twenty and thirty-somethings because of that Primus mosquito. And a lot of scowls on the faces of people passing me in expensive cars, their expensive shades perched stylishly on noses which are sticking up in the air. Whether that's from the mosquito, the other decals, having to work so hard to pay off their expensive cars, or just indigestion, I don't know, but it makes me laugh. I don't much like Primus, but I love Joe, so the decal stays.
A white Apple sticker makes known to all who drive or walk behind Pete that we "Think Different."
Cassie, Caroline, and I carefully added a Bob Dylan decal. Yeah. It looks good there. We love Bob! (Today is his birthday! We sang to him. Wonder if he heard. If he did, he probably smiled.......or covered his ears. We are known for being terrible, though gleeful, singers.)
Are you wondering what Tom added? He's our resident Republican, fifth-generation Oregonian, gun-toting, yes, you guessed it, NRA member. He put one of his NRA decals on the car, and Pete shuddered. I swear. I thought Old School Skeeter would sting the heck out of it. But he didn't. On a 4x4 rig which gets a lot of off-road use (Cassie and Joe LOVE hitting the rough roads!) the NRA sticker seems fitting, I guess. (Don't get me wrong, I enjoy guns and target practice, too, but the NRA, well, it's become sort of, well you know.........Tom's gonna leave a comment, I feel it in my bones.) Funny thing? The frame around the license plate states, Happiness is Being Norwegian. Another contribution from Tom.
We drive around town with this conflicting message about who we are. We are 'all of the above'. We are young, we are middle-aged. We are psycho-rock, we are classic rock, and we are just plain classic. We are conservative, libertarian, American. We talk to ourselves, fling our opinions around, and use those types of computers. We are eclectic.
To drive around in Pete is to drive in contentment. Windows down, music on (Primus? Jewel? Bob Dylan? Mozart? Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Tom Petty? Hannah Montana? Depends on who's driving, and who's listening.). Pete has character. Pete makes me happy. In a de-skilled world, where skill has been removed from just about every 'activity', to drive Pete is to participate in a travel experience. Rather than traveling one-step below Jeeves chauffeuring you around, driving Pete is more of a sport. Not a spectator sport, an active sport where you use both legs and both arms, a full-body sport, one where you win every time! It's ridiculously fun.
And best of all, Pete.....is paid for.