I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for my first car, a VW Rabbit Convertible that took me to college in California from my home in Connecticut (three times!) and on countless beach jaunts and other road trips.
By about year five, the car had its share of quirks. The manual window hand crack had come off the door so in order to raise or lower the window you had to find the handle, fit it onto the metal attachment on the door, hold it in place, and crank. At altitude, the car would stall each time I used the clutch, making for a complex driving routine that went something like this: depress clutch, car stalls, restart car in neutral, put into desired gear, release clutch, repeat. Later, the driver’s side door failed and, rather than seek the source of the problem, I just continued business as usual through the passenger side.
Even now, I drive a beater that’s logged over 150,000 miles. The driver’s side door doesn’t work from the inside, so when I park I need to remember to roll down the window so I can let myself out. It’s become so routine that I hardly notice the inconvenience.
All this adjustment and adaptation has fostered patience with the things around me that are less than perfect. My years of automotive tolerance helped me build what Buddhists refer to as “a radical acceptance,” a practice that has seeped into other areas of my life.
Yes, there are still days when I long for a car that’s iPod-ready and whose cup holders actually hold a cup of coffee around a tight turn. But for now, I’ve got other ways to spend my twenty grand and, more importantly, my mental energy.
Next time our new car culture has you wanting to trade up on your less-than-perfect ride, figure out a way to roll with it. You’ll save thousands and maybe learn a little acceptance along the way.
Tags: buddhism, buddhist, cars, new car, new cars, radical accpetance, used cars, VW, yoga