Saturday, October 31, 2015


I'm not particularly consumerist, though I'm sure if I had money I would be. What I am is materialistic. Things, I like things. I get a lot of pleasure out of them. I comfort shop. Sometimes this is wasteful and just compounds my clutter problem, sometimes it's just a simple good in my life.

I think my attitude is quite Taurean, though I can't lay claim to all the skills described here. It appeals, though, and sounds like a better me.

Recently, I've got two things that area making me really happy. First, after a year of having no car of my own, and driving Axl's Toyota Avensis around, I've bought one. I've had it a couple months now, and it's great. It's an '03 Corolla, and I had planned to go up a few years, but it had 72 thousand miles on it, far less than any of the 04/05s I was looking at did. Axl did the hard bits for me, test drove and negotiated for it. It feels thoroughly mine to drive now - at first I wasn't sure, but now I feel like hugging it every time I drive it. It's a 1.4 so it's a bigger engine than the car I had before, it's smooth and strong with great acceleration and the most exact and powerful brakes. It's small and neat enough to feel zippy and is really easy to maneuver. The Avensis was like a boat, I scraped the crap out of its corners and wrecked the bumper - I feel so bad about that :( It's amazing on the motorway, smooth and quiet and fast, but so is my lil Corolla, heh.

I also  got a dog guard, so Derry is confined to the boot. This is a good thing - no more drifts of dog hair and mud.

The only downside is that it's silver, which I find a bit of a non-colour in a car. A bit anonymous, invisible. I wanted a black or dark green one. But! Beggars can't be choosers, and I've lucked out in all other ways so I can cheerfully give up on the style issue.

The other thing is that I've wanted a new phone for a good while now (I won't say needed, my last phone could make calls perfectly well). I wasn't sure what to get - I've been very dissatisfied with my last two cheap Samsungs and the stories of how they treat their workers are awful, awful.

Also, I'm cheap, so I've been keeping my eye on my upgrade status, because I basically wanted something good... and free. Finally last week, an Alacatel Idol appeared on the page. Free, 16mp camera (last one was 5!), no change to my very low monthly rate... all good. Ethical score over twice that of a Samsung, and at the upper limit of all the phones listed. It'll do. It arrived, and it's cool. It feels like a real smartphone, helped by the fact that I've finally got an up to date SIM, so everything fits on it. I can have Whatsapp now! If I want it. Do I want it? It's cool. It makes me happy to have it. Which is not such a good thing, I recognise. Things Are Not The Answer. But it's not just about having a Nice Thing. It's also about having a working thing, Having the car thing hanging over me was stressful, driving Axl's, worrying about buying one, for a whole year. It now feels like things are in place. Settled. As they should be. And I'm grateful and happy to have these little moments of enjoyment in my mundane day, to feel happy and right as I go around corners. And it's a 12 year old car, it's not like I bought something new or extravagant. But I do see it as a luxury too, of course. Not everyone gets to have a car. And some people live in theirs... I know this.

I know having a smartphone is neither the be all and end all or even positive - but again, at least this one was free, so I don't think I need to feel guilty about it :)

So, how many times did I use the word 'thing' in this post?


Jennifer said...

I had two Toyota Corollas in the past...actually, make that three. My mother-in-law sold us one several years ago that my husband wrecked! They're great cars. Dependable, long-lived, and they hold their value well. I'm a Toyota fan thanks to my experiences with the Corollas! (I have a Scion now). You should easily double the milage on yours, and a 2003 isn't all that old for such a great car!

Ms. Moon said...

As you know, my husband sells cars and Toyotas and Hondas are his bread and butter. People are always happy with them.
Look- folks used to have servants who did work for them. Now we have devices. Looked at in that perspective, our things are not so bad.

Jo said...

Excellent point, Mary.

Yep, that was my intent in getting the Corolla, long lasting, won't break down and cause me loadsa money. The mileage was a nice bonus. All the mechanics said, get a nice Japanese import!