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Sunday, May 2, 2010

My Volvo Problem

I have a Volvo.

And I have a Volvo problem.

Want to hear my Volvo problem?

I'm embarrassed by my Volvo.

This little problem of mine is especially annoying because my Volvo replaces my previous car, a PT Cruiser, which was also embarrassing, but for very different reasons.

The PT Cruiser was embarrassing because, well, it was a PT Cruiser. I don't need to say anything more about that, do I?

I didn't realize that the Volvo would embarrass me when I signed all of the contracts and papers and checks necessary to acquire said vehicle but, now that I have owned it for nearly a month, I now understand and am slowly accepting that I am now embarrassed by my own car.


It's too good for me.

Call this low self-esteem-- maybe that's what it is-- but I do not feel worthy of this particular vehicle. I feel ashamed when I drive it through gritty neighborhoods. When people ask me "Oh, you got a car? What is it?" I immediately start to feel warm and prickly underneath my shirt. I furrow my brow before answering, wet my lips and reply in any of the following ways,

"Oh, it's an old Volvo."

"A used Volvo."

"A 2002 Volvo."

"A small Volvo."

"It's just an old Volvo, an S-40-- you know that's the smallest one they made that year."

"An eight-year-old Volvo."

I hate apologizing for my car, but I do it, and I know that I'm doing it, but I can't stop myself.


* It has supple leather seats that I wouldn't particularly mind dying in.

* It has heated seats, and I've totally gotten over the I-just-pee-peed-in-my-pants feeling.

* It has faux wood all over the place.

* It has airbags all over the place.

* It has Dynamic Stability Control.

* It's a Volvo.

I'm proud of all of these things, and, yet, I'm also concurrently embarrassed by them. And very much so.

I guess I apologize for the car, or diminish it because I am afraid of being judged. When I told my boss what I got her response was, "Oh! Can you really afford that?" I was immediately ashamed and embarrassed, and I also immediately went online and checked my checking account balance. Still okay. But what she said had a deep impact on me, especially since she is the reason why I make practically nothing.

Could I really afford it?

It was $8,900. I traded in the Cruiser and they mercifully gave me $3,500 for it. $5,400 for a used car isn't really all that much money. Is it? So I bought it outright-- no payments, no nothing. Is what I did okay?

I keep questioning myself. And, everytime I see someone who knows that I work for a small, shitty non-profit and they ask me about what kind of car I drive, I want to fall on the ground and die at their feet rather than pronounce those two dreaded syllables....



Oh, God-- just don't make me say it.

I love the car. I really do. I love how precisely it handles, unlike the Cruiser, which was like trying to steer a Hippo on opium across a skating rink, I love the comfortable, supportive, lusciously leathery seats, I love the pick-up of the 1.9 liter turbo, I love the increased fuel economy. I think I love everything about it except for the fact that it's a Volvo. It's just too refined, too beautiful, too uptown.

If I had a homely, fat-chick friend, this is probably exactly how she would feel if we went clubbing together. Poor Gretchen.


  1. Nah- I think you did good. Seriously- if I could (first off) buy a car, even a used one outright I'd be saying that to people all the time. Secondly, I have never paid less than $9800 for a used car and that probably speaks more to my bargaining skills. But now with my 36DD boobs I feel my next vehicle will be at a lower price. :)

  2. Finally! Finally a blogger who blogs about cars..
    Hey, PT Cruiser is not bad..

  3. Your pain makes for a good laugh

  4. I am in secret love with my 2000 S-40. Except when I have to have something fixed. Then I am in public hate with it, which makes me feel less ashamed to say I drive a Volvo. Like if its a crappy car its okay, but if I got a really great deal on a nice car I should be embarrassed.

  5. i think the volvo is good for you. get on wichyo bad self.


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