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I have a problem. I’m unable to buy myself non-essential stuff, especially not big-ticket items.

I talked myself out of the exact pair of Doc. Marten maryjanes that fit like they were already broken in because I just couldn’t hork up $98 on the day I’d spent nearly $400 to get my glasses fixed.

I talked myself out of buying a $200 mini-tiller, though I had the cash in hand, thus dooming myself to yet another summer of busting sod by hand.

I talked myself out of the cutest dress ever when I was 13 because I thought it might be too spiffy to wear for school.

I’m on the cusp of talking myself out of buying this dumb bicycle I’ve been half obsessed with since I test-rode it about a month ago.

At the time, I was just plain fed up with my bike.

I’d just had to get a new Grip-Shift for one side, new chain, new cassette, two new tires, two new wheels. I basically now have a brand-new 8 year old bike. I’m not even sure how many Grip-Shifters I’ve worn out in the past years, I know I’m on my third chain and third set of tires. I ride a lot, and I guess I ride pretty hard. Also, Grip-Shifters suck and I would not wish them on anyone. Cheezey plasticky craparoni.

So, fed up with my bike, I thought seriously about upgrading. Because it’s a mountain bike, and I never take it off the streets. Because it’s old and heavy and clunky, and I thought I could go further, faster, and with more ease and comfort on something built for the road, not the wilderness. Because we paid off a student loan and are to the point where we no longer have to debate which utility we could most easily do without.

I took to the idea of a new bike with a great enthusiasm, and started asking around to other people who rode roadies. Researching components. Test-riding everything that wasn’t bolted down. So far, the girly-Burley linked above was the best fit and just felt right. I took it for a short spin around the block and though, “hmm…this is promising.” Then I took it on a little bit longer loop, pulled a hill, and came down the other side feeling like Rocket Woman. Then, I thought, “wow, I could totally see myself putting egregious mileage on this thing.”

Back at the shop, I started talking business about this bike, discovering the shop’s layaway/payment program. This bike is hella expensive by my standards. I mean. I could buy it outright, but it would pretty much bottom out my saving account, and of course I’m not going to do that. I could swing it another way, but I’m trying to decide if I want to. I could put down well over half the total cost, then pay the rest off over the shop’s 90-day-same-as-cash deal, which would be a lot easier on my savings account; I’d just suspend putting money into savings while I’m paying off the bike, then resume normal saving after it is paid. So money is partially the issue, but not the entire issue.

The issue now is that I just don’t think I really need this bike, or that (how stupid does this sound) it is too nice of a bike for me.

The “I don’t need it” factor is very straightforward. I have a perfectly functioning bike that answers to my uses quite nicely. It gets me to work and back every day and has never let me down, except for when the Grip-Shifters puke out, but even then, it is rideable, just sucky. I thought it was too heavy and slow, but since I’ve started riding with groups of other people, I’m thinking again. I’ve never been left behind, not even close, and I’m always okay to get back home again after a ride. I’m strong and have good stamina, and know my way up and down the gears of that bike like it was instinctive. It’s steady, sturdy, and tough. I can jump it off of curbs, laugh merrily at potholes, lock up the brakes and skid like Luke Duke, and not lose my shit.

The “I don’t deserve it” factor is more complicated. Of course, there’s the tie-in to the “not needing it” factor. This bike would totally be a luxury, since I already have a perfectly good bike. Then there’s the fact that it’s expensive, and spending large wads of money on myself (heck even small ones, which explains the state of my hair) makes me go all ookey. Then I think, “do I really ride enough to justify this hot-shit, fancy-pantsy bike? It’s not like I’m racing or touring or doing anything particularly spectacular. I’m just hooning about the city, either commuting or cruising, and for that, what I already have is just fine.”

So, I’ve nearly got myself talked out of getting this bike. I don’t know how I feel about that. On the one hand, my thought is, “I’m not nearly a serious enough rider to warrant having a bike like that,” but on the other hand, “I could very possibly get that way with a bike like that at my disposal.” Then on yet another hand, “yeah right, woman, what do you know about racing, and since when do you have the vacation time to lavish around taking outrageously long bike rides…and anyway, would this bike be any good for that kind of thing? Also, your husband—isn’t that into riding, so what would he do while you were out swanning around on the roads (answer: even more WoW).”

Barf. I’m obviously the World’s Worst Consumer, in the sense that I pretty much talk myself out of buying pretty much anything I covet.

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