7:35 a.m., Route 7 East, Clarke County, Virginia, 56 miles per hour...
I'm hesitant to change lanes as aggressively as I normally do. I'm driving a car I'm not completely familiar with. The blind spots and feel for the length of the car are far from instinctual at this point. I’ve only owned this vehicle a few hours, so I'm cautious this morning amid the commuter congestion.
The Volvo V40 that I’m driving was the linchpin in a three way deal transacted last night, all in an effort to get a car in the hands of my nephew. Ben’s a college freshman living at home, forced to share a car with his mom. Not exactly the freedom he was hoping for upon graduating high school.
The biggest players in the deal were my parents. Wanting to help out their grandson, they thought about donating their Volvo to him but were hesitant due to the higher maintenance costs that come with a Swedish import. But I had the brilliant idea (if not slightly selfish) of donating my Toyota Camry to Ben in exchange for a donated Volvo from my parents, to which they agreed.
The two cars hold similar retail value, however, my Camry has a few squeaks and dings, needs new back tires and the radiator flushed. The Volvo has many more miles on it and has a few dings of its own, but it also has those really cool headlight wipers and that trademark front grill. It's a car much more suited for a 44 year old man who's hair color is beginning to match the metallic gray of the Swedish import.
In the end, my parents gave up a car, and Ben received one. I was in the middle, just swapping rides.
Because of the generosity of my parents, Ben’s now been liberated. Free to roam and learn life's lessons like all college freshmen. I too have been liberated, but only from a few squeaks and a slight image problem. More importantly though, myself and my parents have been able to help out a family member in need, which is way cooler than headlight wipers.