Thursday, February 24, 2005

Okay, yes, I know it's been almost three weeks since I got home from Tacoma. Sometimes the PTSD is so tough that you need time before you can talk about something.

So, as promised, my mode of transportation while in the land of my ancestors.

in late 1978, my Dad bought the family a brand new 1979 Chevy Silverado truck. The "Trailering Special," bought especially to tow the 31-foot travel trailer we had just acquired for family vacations. I spent countless summers in the canopy of that truck, rolling down the coast to Disneyland (or, a couple of times, across the country to D-World), whiling away the endless hours with books, comics, and my own demented adolescent imagination.

When I learned to drive, I did take the truck once or twice, but that was my Dad's baby, and I mostly stuck to my own car or the 76 Buick Skylark.

Well, the Lark got sold a couple of years ago, and the only other vehicle now is the 1998 Blazer my Dad bought to replace it. Since he'd have to actually trust me before he'd let me drive the Blazer, I was stuck with the truck.

Remember, this thing was designed to haul a travel trailer. It's gigantic, it's wide, and it's so long that the rear-view mirror is basically for show. It's on its fourth or fifth engine, thanks to all the cross-country trips, and when you hit the gas, it takes a while for the engine to get the message, as if it's just too tired to even try.

I drive along a normal road, and I feel like I'm overlapping into the lanes on either side of me. It takes me a good minute to change lanes, thanks to all the contortions I have to go through to make sure the way is clear--hell, I could have a Mazda wedged into the wheelwells and not notice. And parking is the worst; most spots are off-limits simply by having cars parked in the adjacent spots, or by the angle the truck would have to be able to move at to get in. And even when I can get into a spot, getting out is a chore, and I'm still not convinced that I haven't run over at least three pedestrians in the process. Not that I'm about to check the wheelwells.

It was a couple of weeks before I made the mental connection: driving the truck was a pretty apt metaphor for just getting around when you're my size. Substitute "restaurant booth" for "parking spot" and you've pretty much got it. One might think that such a realization might make me feel some sort of bond with the old pile of shit, that maybe we're kindred spirits, trying to make our way in a world that doesn't understand us.

My entire ass. The thing's a pile of shit. At least the Lark was kinda pimp-looking.

An update, of sorts: I finally did get to drive the Blazer, for the couple of days after my sister went home. I drove us home from the airport, and later, all the way back to Richmond, albeit with the old man berating me the entire way. That was more like it: just the right size that I could get in without things creaking and breaking (on me OR the vehicle), easy to drive, and a manageable enough size that I could actually see the road and the cars around me. Fahrvergnugen, y'all!

Anyway, yeah, I'm back home now, and no plans to venture south again until Shelswick's birthday in April. I'm glad the old man is doing okay now, but frankly, he makes it easy to leave.

Copyright 2004 Rich Bowen

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