Friday, February 15, 2008

Conspicuous Consumption Gone Mad

I seem to be big on confessions this month. Here goes another one: I just charged my first $50 tank of gas for my car. Before you accuse me of driving a huge gas guzzler, let me remind you that I drive a 2003 Mini Cooper (in need of a tune-up), and it was only a bit more than ten gallons of gas.

Also, this is not about price gouging by the big oil companies. It is about my own tendency to do everything the expensive way. It's cold outside in Chicago, and I didn't want to pump my own gas. Full service is offered only at a very few stations close to the center of the city, and it costs more. I knew that. It's just that this is the first time it's cost that much.

This happened on the same day I paid $24 to park for about four hours in an underground garage complex with a direct elevator into the Cultural Center. That was for my volunteer job. I just remind myself that $24 is much cheaper than the cost of broken bones from a fall on the ice.

I can almost hear the voice of my frugal late mother expressing her shock, and my conscience makes me feel a bit guilty when I see women older and more fragile than I waiting at bus stops. Still, the other side of me gloats a bit about my years of hard work and my good pension that make all this possible.

$50? That's a lot, but I won't need to fill up again for several months. I rarely drive these days. I'm not complaining. However, I realize how fortunate I am. Perhaps sending checks to Meals on Wheels and the Greater Chicago Food Depository will help.

Copyright 2008 by Marlys Marshall Styne

1 comment:

H.A. Page said...

I'm so passionate about my Mini but have come to the harsh realization that I need an all-wheel car in Santa Fe. I'm the only one in our family who loves the Mini. The good gas mileage was part of the reason, but gee... they are just so much fun to drive.