Nine years. 468 payments. One lease. One bank loan. Paid off.
For the first time in my life, I own a vehicle outright. The Green Hornet, (yes, I name everything) is finally mine.
She may not be a dream machine to many, but that sweet little Toyota Matrix had my heart the minute I first laid eyes on her. But, she wasn’t the car I was planning to buy. I was looking for a basic model, basic colour. No bells and whistles. Affordable. Nothing wrong with basic, I told myself. With two young kids and a new job, I just wanted a car that was safe, comfortable and with payments I could manage. Good enough.
But as we went to sign the paper of the basic model, the Green Hornet caught my eye. Parked on display in the showroom, she was angled between a spiffy tan sedan and a glossy black pick-up truck. Her rich green spruce mica paint sparkled beneath the lights. A sporty model, she had the low spoiler on the front, with fog lights, and a spoiler on the back, a sun roof, and shiny rims on her sleek, fat tires. She had personality before anyone turned her key. Love at first sight.
I bought the car from my friend Tony, a Toyota salesperson from Fergus. While he was negotiating the terms of the basic car with his boss, I circled the Green Hornet. I peaked in the windows, opened the doors, sat in the driver’s seat. I was sold. The Carpenter, my co-signer in the deal, saw my face. There was no denying the bond I felt with this car. It wasn’t a machine; it was destiny.
Tony worked out the numbers, wiggled us a deal, and nine years later, and more kilometers than I care to explain, the Green Hornet is still a sexy little beast. Tony assured me this car would be a solid investment. If I took care of her, she’d take care of me. He was right. Those four mighty cylinders of get-up-and-go (eventually) have taken me on some of the best adventures of my life.
Strange, but as a woman who always has (and likely always will) made less money than my husband, I’ve never owned anything independently. I realize that marriage is about partnership, and I couldn’t have bought my car without his name guaranteeing I’d be a good girl and make my payments, but this car has been my car since I drove it off the lot. It’s the first time in my 20 years with the Carpenter that I have owned something in my own name. It shouldn’t matter, but this daughter of a self-made mother was taught “if you want it, you get it yourself.” It feels rewarding to have my name on something that I worked for, that I cared for, that I earned.
You’d think the bank would send me flowers, or balloons or an edible bouquet or something. Maybe a thank you card. A parting gift? A congratulations note would suffice. “Dear Ms. Waterhouse, thank you for never defaulting on your loan, even in the dark months when money was so tight you rolled the change in your piggy bank just to gather enough money to put gas in it (true story). We respect you. We appreciate your business.”
Wouldn’t that be something?
Pride in ownership for me is about setting a goal and reaching it. Every adventure was worth it so far. The open road awaits.