While I've been schlepping around on buses for the past 9 years (after selling off my car to move to NYC in 2007, then coming back home in 2010 and trying to put a brave face on not having a car for the past 6 years after being back), there's been something more serious going on: I've lost my actual ability to get a car loan! I'd thought that my not having a car since 2007 was all of my own volition, but no! My bank of 30 years just rejected my very reasonable/low-class request for a car loan (for $6000, $2000 down, $200 a month) because I have no credit score. (I cut up all of my credit cards over 10 years ago; since then have paid everything as I go.) Fuck.
I'm 50 years old. My car history: In '81, at 16, received my dad's old Ford Pinto for free. I later got my mom's hand-me-down Mazda 323 for free. And then my mom bought a Dodge Shadow for me from a dealer in San Antonio. In '05, my mom charged a '99 Ford Contour on her credit card (for me to pay back) --- I loved that car, but I only paid my mom back for a few months, then sold it off in '07 when I moved to NYC. I haven't had a car since.
This time around, I vowed to get a car on my own: "I'm 50 years old. It's fucking ridiculous to continue to rely on hand-me-downs, etc."
Whoops! Cars were easy when I relied on my parents! And I just got rejected by my bank... I've asked around, and the alternative is pretty much: going to small dealers who charge big interest rates (18% as opposed to 3%).
OK. A Real World that doesn't exactly correspond with my own timeline. (In my mind, 9 years without a car was quite enough. But I was thinking philosophically instead of financially.)