What is Vanity?

I have given a little thought to status, perspective, vanity and needful things. I am a bit of an oddball. That is not a surprising statement for anyone who has known me longer than a day, in person or in the virtual reality known as social media.
Since before they were even for sale in the United States, I have known my next car will be a Fiat 500. If I win the lottery, it would be a 30K jazzed up model, as it is, I will probably spend under 20, but my point is, I am nuts about the car. At nearly 6 feet tall and over 250 lbs, one might wonder why I like such a tiny car. One might also wonder why I expect to buy a new car, especially if anyone ever saw the inside, or even the outside of my car. But believe it or not, even though I almost never wash my car, and I think I have vacuumed my 2011 Kia twice, and in 100,000 miles I think I have changed the oil 5 times, I have added 3 quarts of oil to in the last 4 months. I guess its burning a little, or leaking, or I don’t know what. I don’t think I have ever changed the air filter.
My point is that I have an almost abusive relationship with my car, but picking the “right” car is extremely important to me. And buying new is important, and even though an under 20K car is within my budget, if I could afford it, I don’t think I could send 40K, much less 50-100K, and the Bentleys and Ferraris at two and three times that boggle my mind, if I had Bill Gates or Warren Buffet’s money, as much as I enjoy the idea of those beautiful automobiles, I cannot understand why anyone would pay 15 times the cost of my next new car.
My brother feels like paying $3000 for a car is squandering money. Even when he was making twice as much as me, he rarely bought a new car, and when he did, he really had to grit his teeth. He has no problem spending an afternoon fixing this or that from bumpers to starters to shocks or a clutch. Don’t get me wrong, I have torn down more than one engine, and all but one of them I got back together and running, I have replaced brakes, batteries, alternators, drive shafts and much more, but I am not a mechanic. I only work on a car when it breaks down, and when I am too broke to pay a real mechanic to fix it.
To me, my perspective of buying a new fairly inexpensive car that I think is cut is a reasonable. To the billionaire a 350,000 car makes perfect sense, or maybe it doesn’t, I think Buffet drives a Buick.
And it isn’t just cars, its clothes, purses, shoes, watches, its your house, where your kid goes to school, where you vacation and a dozen other things I haven’t even though about. If you buy thrift store clothes for 2 bucks, or go to Walmart and pay 12 bucks for a shirt or shop at Macys and pay 60, or go to some high end rack for 200 or have custom tailored 2000 dollar shirts, you might envy those who send more, but most likely, you look at them with a smug dismay at those above and below you, knowing you’re making the right choice.
My point? I’m not even sure. What is reasonable? Does status really matter that much? What is needful? Is status needful? Is buying “quality”, really quality?
Just me thinking. Would love to see some comments on this one.

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4 thoughts on “What is Vanity?”

  1. Somehow the old Shaker song comes to mind:
    “Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
    ‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
    And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
    ‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight”

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