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Guilty pleasures of a new car

By some strange twist of fate, I happened to buy my first car during Whistler’s Commuter Challenge.

And I’m writing this column about buying my first car on Monday, Sept. 22, also known as International Car Free day – as if I don’t already feel guilty enough. I even won a bus pass for entering the Commuter Challenge, valid from Sept. 22-28, and still I drove my car to work this morning.

Believe me, I don’t feel good about any of this (although I did get to sleep in an extra 40 minutes this morning!) and to tell you the truth it’s ruining the pleasure of enjoying my first automobile.

I’m riddled with guilt every time I see a bus cruising down the highway. There are moments of chilly panic when I think about tallying up my points at the end of the challenge, knowing I’m surely at the bottom of the list. And of course, there’s the depressing knowledge that I’m a big hypocrite, who goaded some colleagues into the Commuter Challenge as I mocked their trucks and SUVs.

Why, oh why, couldn’t I have bought this car guilt-free at the beginning of October?

I’ve been in the market to buy a car for the past two months now. By that I mean I’ve been telling everyone that I’m looking to buy a car but I haven’t actively done anything about it; no research, no comparison shopping, nothing.

It was all just so overwhelming that I preferred not to think about it, leaving it instead to the luck of the draw or the hands of the gods.

What that actually means is that I was leaving it for my dad to take care of, as he always does.

So dad swooped in and suddenly my $3,000 budget for a car quadrupled in an instant. He had all these requirements like safety in the snow and reliability and age. I had one requirement – it needed to get me from point A to point B.

Through family connections, dad brokered a deal from Toronto and the next thing I knew I was in Vancouver looking at a car to call my own.

"It’s sooo cute!" I exclaimed in the car lot.

Salesmen’s ears from miles around perked up as my boyfriend gave a weary shake of his head.

"Poker face," he spat out through clenched teeth, as he examined the car from all angles.

He went on to ask a series of questions about the year of the car, accident history, gas mileage etc. while I lovingly ran my hands over the hood. I just couldn’t help it. The car was so much nicer than I had imagined.

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