Friday Feature: My Truck, My Self

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Anyone who knows me, knows me that I don’t like cars.  In fact, sometimes my antipathy towards cars, or I should say any motor vehicle powered by gasoline or electricity and with the potential to lay flat a confused squirrel that can’t figure out which side of the road to run to, is visceral.  The irony is I grew up in the country where the nearest grocery story was two towns over, my high school was two towns over, and most kids when I was growing up got their learner’s permit promptly at 14, their driver’s license at 16.  I got mine at 18.  I put it off as long as I could, until I went to community college and no longer had a school bus to rely on for transportation.

Motor vehicles have always scared me with their loud, rumbling, noisy engines; their stink of fuel and exhaust; the specter of death lurking in the backseat.  I knew plenty of people (classmates, cousins) who were in either fatal or near fatal accidents.  My mom was in one when I was 14.  She was on her way to work on a cold winter morning and hit an ice patch on the bridge.  They say her car practically flew over the bridge and down and then up a tree.  Seat belts weren’t required by law then so she was found huddled on the floor of the car.  She survived with just a few bruises.  And my dad fell asleep at the wheel once and wound up in the hospital.  I could go on since I have a wealth of relatives alone who have had their own adventures with automobiles.

When I lived in upstate New York, the only time I liked driving was when I was on a back road at night, a road lightly travelled.  But even then I knew that if a deer suddenly burst from the trees, I would be a goner, or at least the deer and the car.  Or if I hit a rabbit (which I did once), I’d have to stop and get out and move the dead critter to the side of the road so it would have a little dignity before scavengers smelled it.  I knew cars could kill, very easily, and so I’ve never been totally at ease with them.  Where I live now, motor vehicles are a necessary evil.  In fact, we have two because even in this relatively small town, two working people getting around with one car is near impossible.

So I make the most of it.  In 1997 we traded in my husband’s 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass (that we can towed all the way from San Francisco) for the 1994 Toyota pickup in the picture above (sans bumper stickers).  It had low mileage and the model is known for lasting for millennium with the proper care.  The Toyota was intended for my husband, but once I got behind the wheel and shifted into 3rd, the first word out of my mouth was “Mine.”  I love standards.  At least with a standard, I feel I have some control over the vehicle, however illusory that may be.

As you can see, I (we) have a tendency to decorate our vehicles with bumper stickers much the same way we decorate our refrigerator with magnets.  The one of Rick Scott is actually a magnet and I live dangerously by keeping it on my vehicle since I am employed by the state government.  But, hey, Free Speech, right?  The downside of that particular bumper sticker is learning how many people get “Crist” wrong.  Yes, I’ve met a few who really think Crist is just misspelled.  Sigh.

My favorite sticker is “I don’t have to like Bush to love America.”  Really, I don’t have to like any elected official to love my country, which is a good thing since there are many elected officials that I less than like.  Yes, I did vote my conscience and for Kucinich in the primaries in 2008, but, of course, pragmatism ruled when it came time for the general election.   “Reading is Sexy” was a gift from my husband and so was “California Girl.”  I do “love NY,” although in my mind, NY is upstate NY, not NYC.  My husband is a member of Veterans for Peace as well as an amateur astronomer so, of course, he would prefer to see starlight rather than street lights.  The “final frontier” bumper sticker has something to do with the environment, but it’s so faded now.  I’ve left it there for the irony.

Finally, cats rule.

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So do you have a vehicle that you either love or hate?  Do you identify with it?  Does everyone know your vehicle like all my coworkers and friends know my truck? Is your vehicle pristine, or held together with a kaleidoscope of bumper stickers?

Leave a comment

35 Comments

  1. Love this post and I love my truck, a 2001 Nissan Frontier. No bumper stickers, though. I am thinking of getting some kind of “photographer= frequent stops” sign to put on it. Maybe a big red light to put on top:>) I pull over in questionable areas sometimes, and often get strange looks when I take photos of cool things along my way. My truck is still in great shape, although I’m sure it is rusting below, like everything else metal near the beach. It has much sentimental value, because Paul & I picked it out together, although I bought it with proceeds from the sale of my home. He was usually the driver, and he took it on his fire fighter calls. I still have the “Captain” fire dept plate that was on it when he was alive. Oh, you really got me going! Thanks, that was a good memory-jogger:>)

    Reply
    • Patti, it was so much fun to read your comment and trip through your memories with you. I tend to be partial to small trucks. They are utilitarian, good for driving, not much else. Thanks for the reminder about rust. We don’t have that problem here since, but, boy, it was a big problem in upstate NY because of the roads getting salted during the winter. So many memories … :)

      Reply
  2. Great post. I won’t put bumper stickers on my Lexus, but I do have a plaque that signifies me as a member of the Fraternal Order of the Police. (It’s hoax to make them lenient on me should the need ever arrive). Greg had stickers all over the old Land Rover he brought from England before he sold it. I love your truck and think it’s pretty cool!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Susan! I kind of feel bad that so many of the bumper stickers are faded and crumbling, but I am too so I guess I’m like my truck in that way as well ;)

      Reply
  3. Love your Gov Scott bumper sticker! Got that right, sistah!

    Reply
  4. I love driving – my sister refused to get her driver’s license until I drove her to the BMV and made her take the test. I’m always the designated driver (not just for drinking purposes either) but I think that was more because I always got car sick unless I was driving. I could drive for days on end to relax – in fact, in my current state of mind, I was thinking last night that maybe I should just get in my car and drive all weekend.

    Reply
    • I don’t love to drive but I’ve in situations where I preferred to drive, usually out of boredom. I used to drive to St. Petersburg on business about every quarter and I made the most of it. Usually took along two audiobooks, set the rental car on cruise control, and mentally “escaped” for a few hours. In the country it wasn’t uncommon for people to just “go for a drive.” You didn’t have to have a destination. Of course, the roads of upstate NY are prettier (IMHO) than I-75 ;)

      Reply
  5. My Chevy is decorated with enough dents from the neighborhood kids’ errant footballs that I don’t need bumper stickers. I’d probably get myself into trouble anyway. I’m not running low on opinions.

    Reply
    • I suspect if you had bumper stickers, they would be much more “interesting” than mine ;)

      Reply
      • I don’t know; a Dennis Kucinich bumper sticker is pretty unusual. I’d probably have to make my own bumper stickers with obscure movie quotes and references that no one gets, because they have better things to do.

        Reply
        • My husband is one for the esoteric comments, but then I remind him that here the residents prize football over academics. His efforts would be for naught ;)

          Reply
  6. Great post, and your bumper stickers are fantastic! I can’t bring myself to stick any on my current ride — a blue ’04 Mini Cooper — but my array would be similar to yours.

    I used to have a ’79 MGB that nearly drove me batshit crazy. I wound up donating it to the American Heart Association as an ironic denouement…

    Reply
    • My, you’ve had (have) fancy cars ;) I imagine our next vehicle will probably be bumper sticker free … well, except for the Rick Scott magnet. That’s just priceless.

      Reply
  7. I love reading stories like this. Honestly wish I could live without a car simply because I hate paying gas and insurance on the thing, lol. Oh and paying maintenance fees and the like. Just sooo much money.

    Reply
    • Don’t get me started, It’s one of the major reasons why I want to eventually move someplace where we can get by on one car or no car. Especially since our vehicles are old and now only driven to work and back and errands, the cost of insurance and maintenance is overkill.

      Reply
  8. It makes it so much easier to stalk you this way :)

    Reply
  9. I love cars and always have. I currently have a 2011 Chevy Silverado pickup, but I put a lot of miles on my vehicles so I don’t ever have them much longer than 3 to 4 years. I’ve never been too much of a bumper sticker sort of guy. I happen to have one right now that says, “My son is in the U.S. Army” and I have a couple window decals, one for K&N and the other an Army deployment sticker, that is about it. I can’t really put too many on as my vehicle is used as part of my job. I do love what you have done with yours though, at least all of your stickers mean something to you. Great post.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Dom! I’ve been “decorating” my vehicles since I bought my first one, a 1966 Dodge van that I promptly drove to Oakland, CA all the way from Fort Hunter, NY. That’s another story :) Thanks again for your comment. I think that bumper sticker about your son is pretty meaningful to a lot of people, me included :)

      Reply
  10. Your ‘Bush’ sticker made me smile. He seems a bit low on admirers

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  11. Love the Toyota. Mine is a 1978 Toyota FJ 40 Land Cruiser . Fun post

    Reply
  12. I am still laughing over Katie’s stalking comment :P This was a great post! Loved the picture of your truck and the bumper sticker stories…I don’t like cars, either. I don’t like being a passenger and I don’t like driving. Your family’s accident history sounds like mine!
    Ellespeth

    Reply
    • Thanks, Ellespeth. Yup, Katie’s comment was a good one. In this politically charged environment, I guess I could be stalked ;)

      Reply
  13. Great post! My truck is kept spotless, the Mr was making fun of me recently for using a gallon of windshield washer a month because I do not like having a clear windshield! ;-)

    Reply
    • Thanks! I’m not very good at keeping my truck, unfortunately ;( The best I do is run it through a car wash when I think of it. Clear windshields are important, though, and I go through a fair amount of windshield wiper fluid too :) I’ll even break out the Windex and elbow grease if need be!

      Reply
  14. Lovely to see such a well-loved car. Mine is beloved: an ancient deep red Mercedes estate which cost less than £1,000 but runs like it’s on rails and fits an entire football team inside. Fabulous thing, I shall miss it so much when I have to let it go finally.

    Reply
    • Oh, your car does sound lovely. If you have to drive, then drive a car you love :) Must be nice to have plenty of room, too, since it seems you travel quite a bit? My truck has a regular cab meaning only two people fit in it. We’ve taken it on trips but it’s not the most comfortable vehicle for long drives :)

      Reply
  15. For 12 years I did not have a car to call my own. My wife had one, and it’s all we really needed. You see, I work from home full-time, so I don’t ever really have to go out on any given day. Last year, though, when my father passed away, I was blessed to be able to get his old truck. He had a 1998 Chevy S-10, which as of today still has less than 90K miles on it. It’s in great shape and I must admit that it’s kind of nice to have transportation of my own. But the real thing I love about the truck is that it was my dad’s. Every time I hope in to go somewhere, I’m reminded of him. It feels like part of him is right here with me. I even left the NRA stickers he put on the back window, even though I don’t own a gun and I’m not a member of the NRA :-)

    Reply
    • It’s great that you could do with one car, but that’s really special that you inherited your dad’s :)

      Reply

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