Some time back I mentioned that my husband and I were buying a new car.

Some time back I mentioned that my husband and I were buying a new car.

It was quite a long time back, in fact. Months ago, to be painfully honest. We hadn't even celebrated Christmas, let alone begun 2008, and here the new year is fully four months old. That's almost 2 in dog years.

We could celebrate another Christmas in our same old car -- not literally, of course; we usually just sit around the living room -- and if we do, it will be all my fault.

I admit it. New cars have never beckoned to me, never gleamed brightly in the distance the way they gleam for teenage boys. For girls too, for all I know. My husband remembers his first car with an affection I recognize -- I felt that way about my first cat. (His was blue; mine was black. We named her Blanche, after my grandmother. As far as I know, my husband didn't name his car.)

Anyway, my point is, I've never gotten excited about cars. My childhood best friend, whose parents bought a new car every couple of years, couldn't wait until the new ride was parked in her driveway. The new ride looked like the old ride -- her parents always bought the same car, the same color, the same upholstery -- but even if they had careened from Volkswagens to BMWs to Chevy trucks to Cadillacs, my reaction would have been the same. The only car feature in which I was interested was the back-facing seat in some station wagons. Those were great.

When I grew up, my indifference came along. Who cared what a car looked like, as long as it ran? Also, cars cost an insane amount of money -- I thought this long before the price of cars became truly, certifiably insane -- money that could be spent on other, more important things, such as rent. And maybe the occasional magazine.

I'm older now, no longer paying rent or buying magazines -- why buy what a person can read in waiting rooms -- but I still can't work up any real enthusiasm for cars. Oh, I know we need them, and I certainly drive enough, but I have never in my life looked with longing upon any car. Well, I confess to feeling affection for the Mini Cooper, as who wouldn't, but I'm not sure that counts as car longing. I feel the same way about puppies.

Frankly, if it weren't for the fact that our current car has no air conditioning, I'd be willing to drive it until its wheels fell off and the engine dropped through the chassis onto the pavement. I don't care that it's old. I don't care that it's so last century. I don't care that it has none of the latest technology.

"I just don't care," I say to my husband, when he points out this car and that one. I'm sure I should care. I'm sure it's a flaw in my character that renders me unable to care, or to care about not caring. I'd rather work on my other flaws, though, and let this one go. If that costs me a few points on Judgment Day -- "What's this I hear about you not caring about cars?" -- well, that's a chance I'm willing to take.

No air conditioning, though, is a problem. Last summer was long and hot, and although I managed to forget the A/C problem over the winter -- literally forgot it; I turned it on a few days ago and thought "What's the matter with this thing?" -- I don't much look forward to an A/C-less June, July and August.

So we're going to buy a new car. We are. This time I really mean it.

Margo Bartlett is a ThisWeek staff writer: E-mail mbartlett@thisweeknews.com.

Margo

Bartlett