New car or new phone, new is cool

7 03 2010

In 2006, on my 16th birthday, I received a new phone. It was black and shiny, and it flipped open and flipped shut. As well as being able to send texts and make calls (and also receive both) it could also take pictures. It was amazing.

Almost four years on, I’ve just bought a new phone. It’s black and shiny, and it slides open and slides shut.

Did I need a new phone? Well, not really. But my old phone had its faults: its battery life was sometimes limited to one day (one phone call and a handful of texts would kill it off), the memory was dire (50 texts would cause the memory to be full), I couldn’t upload pictures onto my laptop, it would turn itself off (usually after calls, or playing the excellent ‘Hungry Fish’ game). Oh, and it was starting to look a bit old.

The new phone has all the features I could only once have ever dreamt for. It’s got a camera…which can record both still and moving images. It’s got lots of fun extras (like a stopwatch, a timer, voice recorder – although I have an Olympus voice recorder anyway), a world clock, a convertor, and something about it blue teeth.

But all this out with the old, in with the new business got me thinking. It got me thinking about cars.

Car nostalgia

In March 2007, I was sat in the passenger seat of our family’s N-reg Renault Laguna. Dad was driving. We were returning from visiting my auntie and uncle. We rounded a tight right-hand bend, and in front of us, under a surprisingly warm spring sun, lay a beautiful straight and flat runway of Lancashire County Council’s almost-finest tarmac. No junctions. No bumps. No reason not to give the 2-litre engine a healthy workout.

After the energetic sprint down the road, and after I’d stopped giggling and applauding (yes, I still giggle like a child when I hear high revs as a passenger), we stopped at our local Renault garage, and agreed to trade in the Laguna for a new one.

What was wrong with our burgundy red N-reg Renault Laguna estate? Well, not that much considering it was 10 years old and had travelled over 126,000 miles.

The problems were: a high-pressure hose for the power steering once sprung a leak (quite a costly repair), the central locking in the boot didn’t work (the clichéd French electr

ical gremlins at work), the left hand-side had a mildly corrugated look thanks to children who were over-eager in opening doors, the heater took a good 15 minutes to start ushering out not-outside-temperature air, and the driver’s side rear door made a noise when it was opened. Other than that, it was a lovely car and its problems were, ultimately, minor and very rare considering age and mileage.

On the journey home from the garage, my dad and I sat in the old Laguna wondering: “Why get a new car?” We were happy with the one we had. It had a decent engine, it had a massive boot, it was seriously comfy on long journeys (buttock-ache took many hours to set in), and we’d had it for over a decade – it was like another sibling to me.

On 2 April, we arrived at the Renault garage in the old Laguna. A feeling of excitement and guilt engulfed me and my parents. We met our salesman, he handed us two key cards, and we sat in our new car for the first time…

Then suddenly we realised it was the right decision.

Sod the nostalgia. New car all the way

Granted, the ‘new’ car wasn’t exactly new. It was an ex-showroom car, and the model was only a year or two away from being replaced by the MkIII Laguna, but is still looked good. It was black, it had 17-inch, 15-spoke alloy wheels (which are a pain in the backside to clean), it had a raked rear end, and I reckoned it looked generally quite cool. Plus, it looked better than the surrounding neighbours’ cars (very important).

Over the old car, the new car had: air con, a working heater system, nice alloy wheels, bette

r sound insulation, better handling, a six-speed gearbox, a CD player, lots of airbags, rear head restraints, a rear armrest, a front central armrest, and…SPORTS SEATS!

Yes, it had a 1.9 diesel engine, not a 2-litre petrol unit, but the relative torque made up for the lack of aural pleasure.

Put the past behind you

When we own something for a long time, we become attached to it, we sentimentalise it. I must admit, I sort of miss the simplicity of our old Laguna, I miss the thousands of miles I spent sandwiched between brother and sister as we were taken to pretty places in Europe.

At a basic level, buying something new, be it a new phone or a new car, gets rid of the issues encountered with owning something old. Don’t get me wrong, owning and nurturing an old car is something I’d quite like to do one day (I shan’t yet say what car that is), but buying something new always conjures up a wave of immature excitement and hyperactivity.

So go on, do it – buy something new and shiny. It’s a lovely feeling.

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2 responses

8 03 2010
jebutlin

I like new DVDs, they’re much nicer than old ones.

12 07 2011
Tinisha Grisom

Since you mentioned about cars and insurance in your post, I thought I may as well try my luck and ask you this question. I have a young friend who’s migrating with the family to Russia, and he would like to know what’s the min and max age in that country to drive a car. Do you happen to know the answer? 🙂

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