When my wife and I got married, she brought with her a Toyota Camry her father had given to her. About 18 months later, we replaced that car with a Ford Taurus station wagon. Ten years later, we replaced the Taurus with a Honda Pilot. For seventeen years, now, we've been a one-car family (with the possible exception of when we borrowed a car from my parents for 10 months to commute twice a week between Washington and Richmond).
That all ended last week when we bought a second car.
I've become so used to the idea of my economic fortunes being more-aptly described as misfortunes that feeling like I can afford a second car seems more fin de siècle (vis-à-vis the economic cycle) than like a cause for celebration. It's as indicative of the coming crash as shoe-shine boys with stock tips. And if I ever buy a house, well, the Apocalypse will happen the day before I close escrow.
What car did I buy? America's cheapest automobile. Our kids instinctively figured out how to crank down hand-crank windows, but they can't wrap their heads around such basics from my childhood as being responsible for locking their own doors or having to reach through the front seat to unlock the back seat. Rounding out the 1960s technology is the manual transmission. And then, just to signal to everyone that, yes, this car was produced in the 2010s, it features hands-free dialing through a Bluetooth connection.