Zen And The Art Of Beater

blue carI’ve shared my Sentra with you guys several times (you’ll hear about it a bunch). In a sense it is one of the biggest inspirations for this blog. It was old. It barely ran. Sometimes it even had oil in it. The pictures don’t show it too well but when I bought it there was a very noticeable scar on the passenger side.

At one point in its previous life with its eastern European family before me, it had been in an accident and was shoddily repaired, I assume, in the driveway. Not unlike any of the repairs I had to do on it. In the early years of ownership, the honeymoon period, I tried my best to keep it clean inside and out. I would take joy in spending hours detailing every crease and crevice. Invariably I would get to the bondo’d scar and then sigh because I wouldn’t know where to start. To be honest, looking back I should never have bough the car in the first place with a patch job like that so hastily smeared on the side.an side

As the honeymoon period wore off and detailings grew to be more and more infrequent, a sort of zen-like state grew over our relationship. I stopped caring about the Sentra’s outward appearance. I knew that it could handle pretty well, that it got incredible gas mileage. I also knew that it wasn’t quick or fast or even peppy. I didn’t care about these. I also stopped caring about the dings and scrapes and scratches that come with everyday car ownership. I no longer cared if someone ran their shopping cart into my car. As long as it started up when I had to leave again.

Peace of mind produces right values, right values produce right thoughts. Right thoughts produce right actions and right actions produce work which will be a material reflection for others to see of the serenity at the center of it all.” -Robert Pirsig

truck front

Now, you could argue that this state of being calm and at peace with the chaotic world of grocery store parking lots was because my priorities were in check (as long as it started up I was happy), but I don’t think priorities had anything to do with it. I still rarely changed the oil in the thing. That’s a big priority. I went almost an entire year with a clicking front CV joint. Only repairing it after it disintegrated on me while I was changing the shocks out. I don’t think it was a case of priorities. I believe it was because I knew that whatever was going to happen out there on the road, as long as the car started up, I was fine. It’s looks couldn’t get any worse, could they?

Every person should own a beater at one point in time. Be it your first car, or fiftieth. Buy a beater. Bounce it off other beaters, and experience the zen of being within its existence. Pretty soon you’ll have that peace of mind. Pretty soon you’ll have reached Beater Enlightenment. I promise you, that you’ll be a better person for owning it. You will appreciate you “new” car more.  You will appreciate you life more.

red car

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