The Woes of One Vehicle
In July 2016, our beloved Spectra decided to start giving us trouble. It was over 100,000 miles. It was a reliable care for the over two years we had it. It was time for a change. My husband was changing jobs soon and there was a small pay increase. Initially, we wanted to look for a used vehicle that was reliable just as our Spectra. I wanted to buy new, though, because I did not want to "inherit someone else's problems" and Kia has a great new car warranty.
So we left the dealership after two days of back and forth with a brand new 2016 Kia Soul. I like to refer to my car as my "Black Soul" because, well, it's funny. I was ecstatic. It was black. It had a back-up camera. It had Sirius radio. It had cruise control. It pretty much had everything that my Kia Spectra did not. It was fantastic, especially considering that most importantly of all... it had more space. The Kia Soul was everything that I could have wanted. And this was to be *my* car when I finally got my license.
Fast-forwarding to the current day, it has become the most frustrating part of my life. Not because of the fact that it has broken down. Not because of any wrecks. Not because of anything missing from the car. It is frustrating because it can't be in two places at once.
You're probably reading this and wondering why I'm mentioning something so obvious. "It can't be two places at once". Well, let me explain. We live in a world and in an economy where most households have to work multiple jobs to support their lifestyle and bills. It's unfortunately true. I'm not saying there aren't stay-at-home moms and dads because there are. Realistically, though, there is usually a need to supplement one full time job with either government assistance, a part-time job, another full-time job, or some other income. It isn't your fault. It isn't my fault either. Unfortunately, that is our world. We are long past the time of Leave It to Beaver.
How does this affect my car and create frustration? Let me tell you about the world of not having your license when you are in your early 20's in this current world. Your choices are very limited when it comes to transportation. You can catch a ride with a friend or family member. You can walk or ride a bike. If you're lucky, you can ride a public transportation method provided by your city (generally a bus or trolley). Or... finally, you can just not go anywhere. When I was a stay-at-home mom, it wasn't a big deal. Where did I need to really go? During Christmas breaks, I would work a part-time job to bring in a little extra money for presents, but I could usually catch a ride with someone. It wasn't necessarily inconvenient (though I felt like a burden). During the school year, I would schedule my classes so I only had to be on campus for a certain amount of hours (usually no back and forth) and only twice a week (if that). Not having my license wasn't the end of the world. It was just a flea bite that itched a little bit.
Finally, in December of 2016, I passed my driver's test. This was fantastic news for probably everyone I knew who had essentially chauffeured me around for years. I was happy as well. I was capable of driving to work and to class or wherever I needed to go without relying on anyone else. It was a relief. I got to actually drive the car that we bought months earlier (not that it wasn't put to use as Caleb drove it). The game plan was to buy a second vehicle so that Caleb and I wouldn't have to put a bunch of miles on the car. It was a brand new car after all.
Perhaps I should word it differently. The car did not bring me frustration. My ability to drive that car brought me frustration. The need of two drivers with one vehicle brought me frustration. The fact we bought a second vehicle and it immediately broke down brought me frustration. The fact that my beautiful, perfect, everything-I-wanted vehicle has over 10,500 miles on it already brings me frustration.
In this world, where most households are required (sort of) to find a second source of income brings so many more headaches along with it. If you have one vehicle, you get to spend your life similar to my Mondays. My Mondays consist of waking up at 9am, driving to school, working until 1:30pm, driving 15-20 miles back home to pick up my husband for work, driving another 15-20 miles to bring him to work, driving back home, waiting about an hour or two before returning to school, sitting through my graduate level classes for 3 long hours, and finally driving home. Generally, I'm lucky and a co-worker will drive him home. My poor car goes through a half of a tank of gas in one day. This car that has wonderful gas mileage and features goes through so much in one day. Unfortunately, there are six other days in the week. I can't go grocery shopping when my husband has the car. I wouldn't have a way to bring Jude anywhere heaven forbid something happened.
So in this world, how do families survive without two vehicles? The world sucks us dry, especially if you are a two parent lower-middle class (or upper lower class if that is a thing) family with two jobs or attempting to get a higher education. You have to work multiples jobs to exist. You have to have multiple cars to drive to support your life. You have to make sure you have childcare while you work, go to school, or simply go anywhere a child cannot. You have to spend work your butt off to turn around and spend that money so you can work your butt off. It's a vicious cycle. It is life. It is being an adult. It is growing up. Growing up has its own set of woes that could never be foreseen as an ignorant (ignorance is bliss!) high school student wanting to grow up.