Our debt riddled society

13 Sep

Last week I had a minor car crash. It was minor in that no one was hurt in the slightest, but the impact it had on my life was major. My car was ruined. I only had third party insurance, as my car wasn’t really worth very much and I didn’t have much money for insurance. It was a horrible day. When the crash happened and I got out to talk to the other guy, my heart just sank. I was in total shock, but I knew instantly that this was A Big Deal.

I spent the next few days incredibly stressed trying to figure out how I was going to pay for a new car. My nanny work requires me to have a car; the kids are 11 and 14 so they don’t really need much supervision, they just need to be picked up from school, reminded to do a few things, and taxied to their various extracurricular activities. So not only was I facing a large expense, I couldn’t work. There were several occasions when I really needed my car and it just plain old sucked not to have it.

I know this is a very first world problem. And no one was hurt in the crash. My son wasn’t even in the car, thank goodness, otherwise I would have felt like the worst mother in the world. I still had food to eat and a roof over my head and good friends, etc. But it made me realise all over again how incredibly dependent I am on cheap oil and my car.


Last night I bought a car on borrowed money. I borrowed it from my own business, so I don’t have to pay interest or sign my life away to an unscrupulous loan shark. I’m lucky for this, but it still made me realise how vulnerable I am that I don’t have enough money saved to bail myself out of this kind of serious situation. I got a cheap car but it works really well and is lovely to drive.

It was a strange experience though.

The auction itself was terrifying. They speak so loud and so fast, and there’s a whole lot of gesticulating and yelling and pictures flashing on the screen and people barely moving to flash their cards and spend money. When it got to the car I wanted, lot 19, I wasn’t even quite sure when the bid was mine and when it was the other person. I won it, but I was shaking the whole time. What made it even more nerve wracking was the fact that I know next to nothing about cars. I did several test drives, rejected several cars outright, but when it came to the one I chose I had no expertise to check if anything was wrong. It got it’s warrant of fitness last week, so I trusted that. I hope it doesn’t blow up on me or anything. The consultants, one in particular, were actually genuinely helpful and did make the process somewhat more pleasant for me. But still,  I do not want to do that by myself ever again!

I was struck by a sign which said:

Let finance stand between you and your dream car.

And I almost wanted to cry with how stupid our debt driven society is. How about:

Let your dream car stand between you and a sensible choice.

? ?

I love having a car again.

I’m so dependent.


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