06 July 2010

The Truck

With my dad and ready for the road in April 2009.

Oh, my GMC pickup truck. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I am going to do this fully aware that by doing so, I make it inevitable that something will go wrong with my truck within a few days. That will make no difference in my feelings for it. The engine could blow up, and now, pushing five years with this truck, I could not and would never complain. I would still love it.

Five years ago I visited the lot of the dealership on an impulse where my then son-in-law worked. I saw the truck. I drove the truck. I bought the truck. This is exactly the extent to which I carefully plan all my finances. In the area of purchases, shopping is not in my nature. I have paid the price for that, monetarily and otherwise. But this time I made a heavenly bargain. All I had to do was string out the payments for six years, and I am closing in on the end of that. I have never regretted writing one single payment check.

Canyon Lake Park in the Hill Country of Texas.

Ready for a very difficult border crossing, as it turned out.

Little did I know at the time how valuable and how reliable this pickup would be to me in the coming years. Little did I know what was in store. I have spent hours on the road alone in it and covered thousands of miles. I have slept in it. I slept in it at night in rest stops on the run from Austin to the San Antonio area and other places that I do not remember. I slept in it on the side of the road in the mountains up to the northwest near Linares on the way here. The old advice given in times of crisis is sage:

Fuck the house. Let her have the house. Keep the vehicle. You can sleep in your vehicle, but you cannot drive the house.

Idling in four-wheel drive on the back road up to Real de Catorce.

This truck has done every single thing that I have ever asked it to do. When I purchased it, it never occurred to me that I would ever tow anything with it. It is a relatively light weight truck with a four-cylinder engine. It is really not designed to tow anything in spite of what the manual says. Nonetheless, when the time came, I had a hitch welded to it and hooked up a small camper trailer. My truck towed that camper from the Midwestern United States to the center of Mexico through wind and rain and savage heat and then in effect asked, "What do we get to do now?"

Desert Campsite from Tío Steve on Vimeo.

I have flown across stretches of desert with plumes of dust billowing up behind. I have driven roads that were not roads. I have been off the roads. Around town the truck is on cobblestone more often than not.

Its excellence influenced its own accoutrements, too. It is still shod with the stock tires. They are not emblazoned with a sexy name like Firestone, Goodyear, Bridgestone, or Michelin in raised white letters. They carry the name General. General Tire, Inc., a generic-sounding name modestly displayed, and they go and go and go. I have never had a flat in spite of having punished them unmercifully.

Inside the extended cab I can shove a Larry Carlton disk into the deck, crank the volume, and it as if Larry were there in the passenger seat playing "Smiles and Smiles to Go" for me.

All are aware, I am sure, of the tired, clichéd objection to the geographical solution, "Ah, but the geographical solution cannot work because you just take your same old problems with you."

Let me tell you something. The geographical solution has worked a miracle for me. And the geographical solution that I found would not have been possible without my truck. It is not practical to do something like this with horses and a wagon anymore.

That con man, Fortino, at work on a wax job. One of the reasons that he so easily victimizes me is that he has me convinced that he loves the truck, too.

The truck is more to me than a cold tool. I inspires emotion in me. I have developed a profound affection for it. I never tire of walking up to it, getting in, touching the ignition to fire it up, and driving off. I am as fond of its imperfections as its perfections, but just as one with any honor never lists for another the imperfections of his lover, I will not list my trucks imperfections here.


One can be a solipsist and still have some self-awareness in respect to one's own little hypocrisies. I am sensitive to the fact that I and millions of others, many of whom also harbor affection for a vehicle, are driving the species to oblivion. Actually, I consider this often. It is like loving a woman knowing that she is the instrument of one's own destruction. There is not a goddamn thing one can do about it. It is a sweet slavery. It is a love with no real regard for consequences.


Anonymous said...

nice truck.

Señor Steve said...

It is that, Mr. Anchovy.

mr_wingert said...

it's an OK truck

Señor Steve said...

From you, a high compliment, Wings.