Have you read Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple? I read it a while back, and I keep thinking about this discussion between a father and his young daughter (pages 288-289 in the paperback version):
"Have you ever heard that the brain is a discounting mechanism?"
"Let's say you get a present and open it and it's a fabulous diamond necklace. Initially, you're delirious with happiness, jumping up and down, you're so excited. The next day, the necklace still makes you happy, but less so. After a year, you see the necklace and you think, Oh, that old thing. It's the same for negative emotions. Let's say you get a crack in your windshield and you're really upset. Oh no, my windshield, it's ruined. I can hardly see out of it, this is a tragedy! But you don't have enough money to fix it, so you drive with it. In a month, someone asks you what happened to your windshield, and you say, What do you mean? Because your brain has discounted it."
"The first time I walked into Kennedy's house," I said, "it had that horrible Kennedy-house smell because her mother is always frying fish. I asked Kennedy, What's that gross smell? And she was, like, What smell?"
"Exactly," Dad said. "You know why your brain does that?"
"It's for survival. You need to be prepared for novel experiences because they often signal danger. If you live in a jungle full of fragrant flowers, you have to stop being so overhwhelmed by the lovely smell because otherwise you couldn't smell a predator. That's why your brain is considered a discounting mechanism. It's literally a matter of survival."
In many ways this depresses the hell out of me. We quickly become desensitized to things (and people) that we are initially so excited about. That makes me a little sad, but I guess it is true. On the flip side, I guess this discounting mechanism also helps us ultimately cope with terrible things.
My Honda Fit was recently giving me FITS. So much trouble, that I decided FUCK THIS CAR, and I started researching the best-ranked cars that I could afford. I sold my Honda to Carmax (a relatively painless experience if you need to sell a car quickly and don't want to be bothered to deal with Craigslist-er types). I had a short list of cars under consideration, and went car shopping with the boyfriend. It didn't take very long to find THE ONE, and I bought it. I was so excited about my brand new car that I was visibly shaking as I drove it off the lot to my home five miles away. I realized I couldn't get insurance for my new car until the next day, so I parked it and kept checking on it periodically -- peeking out the window to make sure it was still there and that it was ok. !!!!!!! That night I went to bed and had nightmares -- someone was keying my brand new car; someone was tagging my brand new car; someone was FIRE-BOMBING my brand new car -- all before I even had a chance to really drive it, really enjoy it, or REALLY INSURE IT. HELLO?!?!??!?! The next morning I took care of the car insurance, and shakily drove my new ride to work. I was ultra cautious -- even driving without listening to the radio -- determined to be extra careful as I didn't want to be one of those poor folks that had an accident in their brand new car. I was so careful the first three days that I had this car. SO CAREFUL. No honking. No cursing. No wild driving. But by day four I realized it was JUST A CAR and I returned to my typical angry driving, complete with honking and cursing at the ever-present jackasses on the road for my commute (my 12 mile commute takes over an hour, and NO CAR will make this commute entirely pleasant).
So I still love my new car, and I am relieved to have reliable (and CUTE!) transportation again, but I guess the newness has already worn off a bit. Kind of depressing, but I guess such is life! NEXT!