As a junior in HS last year, I got to drive a very pleasant 1997 Malibu. This past summer, something came up and I found myself in possession of an ugly 1986 Pontiac 6000. My first reaction was horror in anticipation of what my peers would think of me. More into the summer, other activities allowed me to learn how to not give a shit about what a bunch of idiot teenagers thought about me.
Now, I'm very pleased to drive around my '86 "General Lee", as I call it. I use it only as a tool for travel, not a social status indicator. I'm going to use it until it becomes unreliable (opposed to working my ass off now so that I might buy a nice-looking car).
Reading a peer's blog, he confessed about how ashamed he is to park next to other kids' brand new SUVs and the like which were bought by their parents... And his car is not half as disturbing to look at as mine is!
This perplexed me. Is this a product of western-world crass commercialism? I guess this can be paralleled to a number of other status-indicator products... The stuff people buy if only for showing-off purposes (brand-name clothes, pet rocks, iMacs).