In which the magic almost happens

I have talked about my car a couple of times recently, so you may be aware that I drive a green Kia Soul. While I certainly didn’t mind the green, I bought the car used and the color was genuinely the least of my concerns; I like brightly-colored cars, which are less popular right now than they used to be, but the green Soul was inexplicably the most popular color and that was what was available, so that was what I got.

There is a name for the phenomenon I’m about to describe, and my former-psychology-major brain cannot quite produce it, but: you have no doubt noticed that once you, personally, own a certain kind of car you see that kind of car everywhere. And even knowing that, I was not quite prepared for just how many Alien Green Kia Souls there are on the road right now. In the years I’ve been driving the car I’ve been playing a little game with myself: how many Alien Green Kia Souls would I see at a given intersection at the same time? Would I ever actually pull up to a four-way stop and discover that there were Alien Green Kia Souls at all four of the stops?

Until today, my record was three of the four, and I genuinely thought I was never going to get past that. I mean … it’s a popular car, but that’s ridiculous, right?

Until today, when I almost achieved the unachievable. Because on the way home today I stopped at a four-way light, two lanes in every direction, and almost immediately noticed that I had tied my record– there were Alien Green Kia Souls both to my right and to my left. I looked at oncoming traffic, hoping to catch a glimpse of, perhaps, one in the distance approaching the intersection, so that I could count it before the lights changed and the two cars on the road I was crossing drove away.

And then it happened: a fourth Alien Green Kia Soul … pulled up in the lane next to me, driving the same direction I was.

Which I think counts as breaking the record, since this is in fact four cars at the same intersection for that brief moment until the other two started moving, but it does not in fact count for the magic situation I have been waiting for for so long, when there are four of us at each of the four cardinal directions.

And in my head, we always notice what has happened, and get out of our cars, and immediately become the best of friends.

But I guess now there are going to have to be five of us.

Achievement unlocked

If you have been around a while, you might remember me buying this car. At the time I took a 72-month loan on it, which I’ve been told is an unwise decision under nearly all circumstances, but whatever. 72 months from the purchase of the car would have been July of 2023.

It is currently March of 2022 and as of today my car is paid off. $237 a month back in my pocket. Awesome.

I am still waiting for my student loans to go away, which is likely to take a bit longer, but will still probably be done by the end of the school year. That’s another $545 a month. After that I pretty much just have the house and a personal loan to take care of (and “take care of” is a bit of an understatement, if I’m being honest, as they’re both pretty sizable amounts) but once those two are dealt with I will be debt-free, and getting rid of the car and the student loans will make an enormous difference, especially since I’ve been channeling every spare dime into paying for the car for the last six months or so and don’t have to do that any longer.

God help me, but that almost feels like cause for optimism. Time for the entire frame to fall off my car!

On cars and Hogwarts, again

If you’ve been around for a while, it’s possible that you remember this story: my son attends a pricey private school, one that my wife and I are affording with financial assistance. When we first started sending him there, I was driving a Ford Escape that had a six-figure mileage and was, itself, old enough to have a drivers’ license. My current Kia Soul is an upgrade. However, there was a day, several years ago, when I was picking my son up during the winter in the Escape and experiencing a bit of class anxiety. I comforted myself with the existence of what looked like a station wagon in the parking spot next to me that also was covered in salt and muddy snow and looked kind of shitty, only to discover that I was comparing my $2000 Escape to a fucking $100,000 Porsche.

He’s at summer camp right now, and I just went to pick him up, and I found myself in the car line behind a Tesla– I don’t know exactly which model, but not the one with the weird doors. One kid got in that car and they stayed in their spot, possibly waiting for another kid. My kid came out and got in my car, so I waited for the lane to be clear and pulled out to drive around the Tesla that had been parked in front of me.

Only to find myself behind another fucking Tesla.

My wife and I do just fine, I swear, and I see the effects of actual poverty every day at work, and again, no one in this building has ever been anything other than perfectly nice, but damn, there is just no faster way to make myself feel broke than to look around at the cars any time I’m near Hogwarts. It’s ridiculous.


I suspect we’re going to be back up over 100,000 new cases a day nationwide by the end of the week, (EDIT: Ha, it happened today!) and the CDC just announced that everybody should start masking up indoors again. I just ordered a new pack of filters for my favored mask. I was really hoping to not have to teach in a mask again this year, but apparently only about 20% of 12-15-year-olds are vaccinated nationwide and I’m sure that number is lower in my district, so I really don’t have any choice. Indiana’s numbers are going up, but they aren’t spiking to the degree the nation’s are yet and St. Joe County isn’t as hot as the rest of Indiana, so I’m pretty sure the school year will be starting as normal this year. That said, I don’t think I knew on July 27 last summer how this year would be starting yet, so who the hell knows? I suspect everyone will just close their eyes and pretend Covid has gone away, but we’ll see.

LOUISVILLE: View from my car window

Guess whose car got broken into last night? And has to listen to this for four hours on Sunday?

(Coulda been a lot worse. They took a pair of prescription sunglasses. That’s it. Didn’t touch any of my con stuff and the car didn’t flood in the rain.)

Meet Joey Car James

Joey here will be conveying us around for the next several days.