Periscope Depth

I can't drive fifty-five

I put a high premium on convenience.

I value my time very highly. While I don’t mind taking the bus – it gives me time to read, or watch videos on the iPod – I’d prefer to drive if it’ll save me some trouble. In Boston – or Cambridge, where I live – this convenience comes very dear.

A little over a week ago, I dropped my car off at VIP Auto after the plunking sound coming from the wheel well had turned into a legitimate scraping. I mentioned the CV joint as I dropped it off, hoping I had nothing more to worry about. The call came: the right front spring and strut had come off entirely, and the left ones were rusting. Final bill: over one grand.

I paid. One thousand dollars (plus) stacks high, but I had the cash on hand. And in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that expensive of a repair. Provided I only have to make it once.

In the summer of 2008, I replaced my radiator, for about $700. Now, at the end of May, I’ve paid over $1000 for the front springs and struts. I rapidly approach the number at which Zipcar would make more financial sense than keeping my current beater.

(Actually, I’ve technically passed that number. But I’m not immune to the sunk cost fallacy, so I’ll hold onto the car I just sunk a grand into. For now. But the next time I get a repair bill totaling $300 or more and the car can still roll, I’m rolling it out of the mechanic and into my parking lot, where it’ll stay until I get Zipcar lined up)

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