I spent Friday night cleaning out my truck.
The Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck I bought new almost nine years ago.
I know that cars and houses and shoes don’t have souls, but I do think they have personality – or at least affect my mood.
I never bonded with the truck. Partly because I didn’t like the color. Blue. How shallow is that? Light blue would have been okay. Metallic dark blue, not so much. When I got the truck I hesitated about the color but talked myself into it. I was more concerned with the features, or rather, lack of. I wanted a standard transmission, no power locks or windows. No frills. To choose another color would have added another $1500 to the purchase price and I didn’t think I cared that much.
I bought the truck after a failed experiment of driving a big old truck. I lasted about a year with the 1980-something Chevrolet 1500. I looked like a badass in it, but it was too damn big for the around town driving I was doing. I remember being more relieved to be rid of the big truck than excited about the new one.
The S-10 also had some unpleasant boy karma around it. I had a huge fight with A. centered around the new truck. I’d been to the license branch that morning to get the registration transferred but had not put the license plate on the truck yet. A. asked if he could borrow the truck for a gig. I was happy to loan it to him and told him I’d run home for the plate. It turned in to a big screaming match, for no apparent reason. I realized later that it was the beginning of the end of our relationship. Picking fights over nothing.
Anyway, it was not a great start for the truck. The first dent came when a date offered to walk me to my truck. For my safety. Ha! There was a fight in the parking lot by my truck. I asked the guys to move and they stopped, surprised -- I think being a woman didn’t hurt. Then the jackass I was with got involved and someone got slammed into the side of the truck. First dent. And the end of that relationship.
I drove the truck to Nashville twice. To see two different boys. I met up with A. one time, long after the breakup. I stopped for fuel and somehow almost knocked myself out with my own door. A sign maybe? I spent the whole trip with a splitting headache and a lovely oozy cut on my forehead. The next trip to Music City was fun, but no less awkward.
Then I got caught up in the chain-link fence next to my driveway on a snowy day. A hailstorm caused enough damage that the cost to repair it paid off the truck.
There was something psychologically comforting about having the truck paid for. At that point I didn’t care what it looked like, just that it worked. I’d make it through the winter with it. One winter turned into five and I was still driving it. Then I bought the house and not having a truck payment was critical. It didn’t make me resent it any less.
Even though I drove the truck less than 70,000 miles, it got a good workout, especially during the coffeehouse years. And I helped friends move and hauled water heaters and appliances and recycling.
Cleaning out the truck was cathartic. Going through all of the ticket stubs and papers and party favors that I cared enough to save, but not enough to take in the house was good for me. Finding directions in the glove box reminded me of fun parties. I laughed at my ‘emergency kit’ stashed behind the seat– my idea of emergency supplies includes Band-Aids, $40 and coins, tape measure, socks, sunscreen, earplugs and sunglasses. All of which have come in handy, I might add.
I found dozens of gift certificates that I’d stashed in the console. Starbucks, anyone? Who knew that I had three umbrellas? I also found sixty dollars in cash between the seats. I did not find my keys or Jimmy Hoffa. Or an old boyfriend, for that matter.
I’m ready for a new chapter – bring it on!