The other day, something hit me: In our daily lives, Jessica and I rely on an electronic device and a piece of machinery made in the year 1986. Our dear Nissan, which I blogged about in loving detail way back in July, is still a very complex piece of machinery with electronic components and levers and gears and motors and pistons and processes I can’t even begin to understand – but it got me thinking: is there anything else I use regularly that’s so old?
Here’s a personal computer from 1986, an Apple IIgs:
It cost $999 and had 128 KB of RAM, expandable to 8 MB. It weighed 65 tons and filled an entire warehouse and needed to rest ten days for every hour of use. My current computer, by comparison, is a 21.5-inch iMac that has 8 GB of RAM but can handle up to 16, has 500 Gigs of hard drive space, feeds my plants when I’m away and fits into the coin section of my Jeans pocket.
Here is a cell phone from around the same time:
And here is a calculator from roughly the same time the car was made, 2700 BC:
Anyway, the point is, we need a new car. This is nothing new; we’ve needed a new car since before we got the Nissan in a “family transfer” from my parents. Don’t get me wrong: I love our little car; its small, still has working AC, has a great turning radius, and fits right in our new neighborhood. But it’s not long for this world, and that’s just the truth. We need a new car, and we need one soon.
But the issue is: we also need a wedding, and we’re planning on dropping ten G’s on one, which doesn’t leave all that much money for a car.
From the modicum of research we’ve done, it seems unwise to spend under 5 or 6 thousand on a used car, and throw in DMV costs and a higher insurance rate, and we’re definitely talking more than half the cost of our wedding. And then it starts to seem like a whole lot of money.
But then, I start thinking about priorities. We need a car. Do we need a wedding? Not really. But in some ways, of course we do. We don’t NEED a lot of things. I don’t need the two shelves of alphabetized comics and graphic novels that I’ve spent my future child’s college fund on over the last few years, but I do love them and they do bring me immense joy, and I lend them out and they bring other people joy, and I’ll have them for my whole life if I treat them right. And that’s pretty awesome.
And anyway, I’m talking about this as if it’s an either/or situation, which it’s not. We’re going to have a wedding, and we’re going to get a car. But putting things in perspective can be a frightening prospect – sometimes it’s a lot more comforting to keep things out of perspective, the same way it’s nice not to check your bank account for a month.
When it comes down to it, well: we do need a wedding. Because sometimes when you want something bad enough, it turns into a need. A real one. Someone asked us the other day (it might have been Jessica’s mom?) if planning a wedding was fun or not, and we looked at each other and realized we had no answer to that question. We might not be able to answer it until after the wedding, or maybe never at all. And probably, the answer is “sometimes yes and sometimes no.”
But we are both excited about getting married, and about having a big ol’ shindig for our loved ones. Really excited. It’s going to be awesome, and it’s going to be worth every one of those million pennies we spend on it.* And though it is a little bit mind-boggling to consider the amount of money we’re going to spend on it, I firmly believe that it’s entirely worth it.
[*I recommend not converting your wedding budget to pennies. A million pennies is kind of a crazy thought.]
Our next car may last us 15 years; the wedding will last for a day. But we need them both.