Sunday, January 6, 2013

I'll have the truck, please

The sound of our shoes crunching over the ice and snow in the parking lot could be heard as someone I was walking in to a meeting with the other night remarked, "I didn't know you drove a truck."

"Oh, yeah," I said, smiling, pausing to look back over my shoulder at my truck, her top covered with snow, frost consuming her windows in winter's first storm. She looked terrific.

"After all," I continued, "I am from West Virginia. Girls dream about their first truck as much as they do their wedding day over there."

Though we chuckled, my comment wasn't far from the truth.

When our friend, Robin, got her brand new 1993 Toyota truck our senior year in high school, my best friend, Holly, and I both wished that we could trade in our run-down Chevy Caprice or Toyota Tercel hatchback for a truck like hers. She had struck gold.

Though it took me 17 years, I finally got my truck three years ago through a deal that almost didn't even happen.

My husband and I were at the dealership, ready to put some money down on a Chevy Malibu, a sensible selection; but before we made a commitment, I looked up and said, "Any chance you've got any trucks around this price range?"

The rep said, "Well, there is one, but I don't think you'll like it."

This guy was the coolest cat of a car salesman either of us had met. He wasn't being condescending, but given that I was wearing a suit and high heels, he simply said it as a matter of what he had surmised to be a fact.

"How could I not like a truck?" I thought to myself as I perked up to hear what he had to say next.

"It's what they call a work truck. It doesn't have any carpet on the floors, and ..." he continued to mention a couple other things, but he had me at "no carpet on the floors."

Herman's Hermits' song, "I'm Into Something Good," began playing in my head. I imagined, like the scenes with Leslie Nielsen and Priscilla Presley as they were falling in love in the film "The Naked Gun," the adventures this truck and I could have; adventures such as 2 a.m. drives to triathlons, mud-covered training days at Caesar Creek Lake and summer days with the windows rolled down as the high-riding power of her engine purred us across southern Ohio.

No carpet was just what I needed. This was going to be great.

"Let's go look," Gary said.

We walked to the back and there it stood - all by itself. It was a huge truck, a 2009 Chevy Silverado that only had seven miles on it. It was March 2010 and the truck had been sitting on the lot for one year.

I think I know why.

It is a very weird truck with an odd blend of modern and 1980s features. It has Sirius XM Radio, an adapter for an MP3 player and came with OnStar. However, it does not have power doors or windows or keyless entry. The inside light doesn't even come on when you open the door.

It also did not have 4-wheel drive, mandatory for every truck a West Virginian will drive. The Silverado also had an automatic transmission. I prefer driving a stick.

It is rare for a vehicle to be sold in Ohio with a manual transmission, and, not wanting to let the perfect be the enemy of the good, I decided I could do without 4-wheel drive.

The deal was set and I was now the owner of my first truck.

After nearly three years, our relationship has been everything I had imagined in those first few moments - and then some.

Two months after I brought her home, I clipped the side of my garage as I was turning the corner down our driveway to cover some breaking news story.

"Uh, oh," I muttered. "Please let it just be a scratch. Please let it just be a scratch. I wonder if Gary saw me. Oh, no. Please let it just be a scratch."

Gary came stomping from inside the house and he was hot. I would quickly see why.

I scrambled out of the driver's side door, scurried to the back, stopped fast in my tracks and hesitantly peered over the right-back corner of the vehicle to slowly get a full view of the damage. My jaw dropped to the floor.

It was more than a scratch. It looked like The Incredible Hulk had just pummeled the mid-section of the truck with an angry fist. There was only a little crack in a piece of siding on the garage.

After a couple weeks at the body shop, she looked just as good as new.

Nearly three years later, I find there are some items with which I still need to equip my truck. I desperately need running boards, a good liner for the bed and even some kind of top.

My mom did get me a set of floor mats for Christmas last year from Lands' End.

I do not find it bizarre when country crooners sing about their trucks. There is "Somethin' 'Bout a Truck," Mr. Kip Moore, and I get it. I always have.

Who knows how many more years we'll have together, but through thick and thin, summer and winter, the journey ahead will be packed with adventures - because that is how I choose to live my life.

Though I am proud to now call Ohio home, I will always find a way to let out the redneck.

For instance, did I mention the floor mats are monogrammed?

This column originally appeared in the News Journal. 


Alexa said...

I LOVE trucks! wish I had one! (-a rural Pennsylvanian)

Lora Abernathy said...

I hope you find yours someday!


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