Tuesday, September 05, 2006

"You do adapt...."

Also yesterday, I was talking to a friend R. to get advice about what kind of car to get and he made point that people will judge you by the car that you drive, and there are really three types of cars out there:

1) Neutral - This car is a car, it does not say anything good or bad about you, it just validates yourself as part of society. i.e. you are not poor or can at least afford car payments. Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Minivan I suppose, Chevy whatever, basic, solid transportation. You get the idea.
2) Statement Making - This car makes an impression, a Range Rover, Hummer, a sports car, a Beamer, a Ferrari. This car is meant to say something about you. What that statement is subject to interpretation.
3) Negative - This is a beater, something old, maybe running, has a cough. It says uh oh when you pull up in it to pick up a date. (The implication being, remember who's still single.)

I said I really would not get a car if I had car share, and we went on the topic of he was amazed about how long I had gone without a car. I said that it's getting easier, and oddly I feel more healthy and full of energy. Now psychologists have studied how people adjust to circumstances, and it turns out that we adjust pretty well. If you get a new BMW, the joy wears off as you get use to it and it doesn't make you any happier, they call this "hedonic adaptation". On the reverse, you also get use to bad things as well. People who become injured seriously recover and function and are generally the same level of happiness before the accident.

In the end I said, it's a bit of a pain, but you adapt, but then reading this article in Slate, then again maybe you don't.


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