Home | Posts RSS | Comments RSS | Login

Oct 20, 2010

Lap of Luxury

Just to avoid any unnecessary suspense, we bought a car.

This one:


[Ed: This is not actually my car, but a googled image of a similar one. My car is already dirty and full of Matchbox cars and Nutrigrain bar wrappers.]

It is a Lexus hybrid SUV, an older one with a zillion miles. I whittled my list down to two: the Lexus or a previous generation Subaru Outback. My pro and con list shaped up as follows:

Pros: Grrrreat mileage, tons of space, safe, fun to drive, lots of gadgets and perks
Cons: Eeew Lexus yuck

Pros: Yay Subaru! Eco friendly company that is sort of local and values the marriage of design and living with the planet’s interests in mind, nice to look at vehicle
Cons: Horrendously boring to drive, terrible mileage by comparison, subpar visibility, “tin can” feeling

In the end, I went against the brand and chose based on needs. Even though I felt that I fit better with the Subaru brand, I just couldn’t justify the mileage for a car that was such a snooze to drive and didn’t even feel that safe. As much as I believe in design and matching your values to the companies to whom you give your money, in this case, the values that were portrayed in the “branding” of Subaru just didn’t come across as much as in the Lexus.

I have always wanted a hybrid car, ever since they came out with the teeny, goofy little Insight. It means a lot to me to invest in technology that I believe in (though Patrick is quick to point out that no one cares if I’m “investing” in a very used model) so this ranked high on my list. Also, the space in the back seat is quite impressive. We’ve been driving around The Best Toddler Nephew Ever the last few days as the Baby Mama makes her final prep to be a Mom o’ Two, and the two kids can’t even touch each other or the seats in front of them. Take it from me, this is SO GOOD.

And so I find myself in this awkward Lap of Luxury, tooling around town in a top-of-the-line (90,000 miles ago) car. Though I am greatly enjoying it so far, I still explain myself away anytime I am asked about it. I don’t regret the decision, but I wonder how I will park in the Health Department and County Hospital parking lots to go in to work, or how to go to Health Fairs and talk to people who have not eaten today and probably won’t. Do I tell them about the hybrid engine, saving the earth, and the great big back seat that can hold three car seats? Do offer the backseat to them to stay a night or two if they need? Or do I bite my lip and hope that no one pays that much attention to me and what I drive?

I hate the Lexus branding. The dealership is a vortex of Gross, and I think I met the Boss of Yuck when test driving a car at The Dealer. The commercials reek of consumerism and overspending, not to mention celebrating being a spoiled, entitled brat.

But, branding isn’t everything. Patrick, as I have mentioned, will never drive anything but a luxury car. He thinks that he deserves it. The difference in him, however, is that he thinks that everyone else deserves it too. Why wouldn’t you drive a luxury car? If you can’t afford a new one, get an old one. They’re still better than a new Tin-Can-of-a-Car. He loves the history of the European luxury brands, but even he is influenced by branding. However, instead of being suckered in to the Newer is Better, he secretly thinks that the young hot shots who drive the new models are Jerk Faces who don’t – or can’t – appreciate what they have. Don’t tell him I told you.

It can be hard to convince others that you don’t necessarily go into the same box that the car does. I make an effort to include everyone, to reach out to those who populate the edges, to care for my world for all of us. If it were up to me, all the car companies would be required to have Zero Landfill Factories, just like Subaru. I think that we are all each other’s responsibility, the earth included. Let’s all hold hands, do some yoga, and hug afterwards, shall we?

I don’t really think that I am the target audience of Lexus. But their product won me over their branding. Go figure.

0 Readers rock!: