We got the front end of the Mercedes fixed. Lower ball joints, steering damper, and new Bilstein shocks. There's still a lot wrong with the old girl. Engine is down on power and burns oil. There's a probable vacuum leak or two and some issues with the Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, which means occasional hard starts and some irregular idle when the engine's cold. And just recently, the speedo cable broke, so the speedometer and odometer are nonfunctional for now. She needs new tires, badly. And I need to save up the $80 for a shift linkage rebuild kit.
It doesn't matter, though. With the front end fixed, I can trust the car and the steering is what it's supposed to be. When I slip behind the wheel, my blood pressure drops and the worries of the world fade away. My mind clears; I can stop crying. The interior of the car feels like the Mercedes engineers climbed inside my head and created a car just for me. Everthing is sized right, feels right. The car's small. Me-sized (I'm only 5'-3" tall.) It's kind of spare and utilitarian inside, because although it's a Mercedes, it's an old one and a base model, too. The seats aren't even leather - they're vinyl.
But, as a fellow car enthusiast friend of mine says, it's all good. Me and my little piece of obsessive German engineering, we get along perfectly. I saved her from sitting unloved on a corner car lot (who wants a stick shift Mercedes in this town? Nobody but me.) And she saves me from emotional collapse and nervous exhaustion. Over and over again.
It's definitely all good.
Something I've been thinking about for quite a while: Poverty lies in the space between "I choose to" and "I must, because I have no choice."
It's one thing to choose to shop at a local grocery, even though they're more expensive, because you have the wealth to do so. It's another thing entirely when you must do so, because you have no car.
Another example. Wealthy option: cute handmade Christmas gifts because you choose to make them. Poor folk option: cute handmade Christmas gifts because you can't afford anything else.
See more on this same concept in a recent article at The Art of Manliness.
I get bored buying the same thing the time. A while ago, though, I found a dishsoap I really liked and liked enough that I was ok only ever getting that one kind. (It's hard to find good lemon-scented dishsoap.)
But I'm almost out of it, and since I have to order it instead of buying it in a store, and I haven't gotten around to doing that, I've been supplementing by reverting to my old habit of buying something different each time.
Which is why I have three bottles of dishsoap started right now. Because I'm way too impatient to wait until one is finished before trying the new, different one.