Friday, February 01, 2008

"Nice Truck..."

I was dressed like a trucker or a farmer, or maybe a lumberjack, but not a lady. In fact my coat came from the men’s department at Mark’s Work Wearhouse. It’s the smallest size on the rack and I still drown in it. I like to be warm, and it was cold that night. I had on my skinny jeans and my big thick winter boots, my woolly earflaps hat and my riding gloves.

I felt beautiful.

When I turned into the lot of the coffee shop I had one of those quick jabs of identity crisis that I get way too often for a woman my age. Coffee shop. I don’t drink coffee. I wouldn’t normally go to a place like that, but I was meeting up with my fellow writers. We talk about writing and reading, we read stuff we wrote, we go off topic. Without my writer’s group, I wouldn’t ever set foot in a place full of strangely named hot caffeinated drinks.

I waited for three young guys to stroll across the lane from the shop to the parking lot. They didn’t look like they belonged here either. Plaid shirt wearing, workboot footed, baseball capped guys don’t make swanky places like this their regular hang.

I always have to look carefully for a spot to park my truck. It’s big. If I can’t find a drive through spot, or three spots in a row to sprawl in, I back it in. It won’t fit if I drive it in. But it was 7:30 on a January night, and I had a wide open parking lot. Three small cars, a minivan, and another Chevy pickup truck were the only vehicles parked there.

I steered over beside the Chevy pickup. I do that. I like to think that trucks attract each other.

I parked it nose to tail. I have developed a habit of parking beside another truck and then sizing it up. Mine is often the longest and hangs past the truck beside it by a bumper and a bit more. This one was an extended cab like mine, but only a short box. Mine’s a long box. Mine’s bigger. But that one’s a 4x4, so it’s got one up on mine. It’s burgundy; mine’s two tone silver and red.

The three young guys cruised over to the other truck just as I shut mine off. I looked over my shoulder, through the tinted quarter window. I flicked off the headlight switch and reached for the door handle, grabbing my keys and the strap of my book bag. I slid down out of the truck and realized once my feet hit the pavement that I should have locked the passenger door too. My husband’s toolbox was on the floor.

I hit the lock button and slammed shut the big slab of General Motors steel. The guys ambled over, talking in their guy voices, laughing like guys. I walked around the front of my truck. They didn’t belong here with the minivans and hatchbacks. They looked like farmers and mechanics. I know this. I grew up surrounded by farmers and mechanics.

I cruised along the side of my truck and opened the passenger door so I could lock it. One guy looked up. He smiled. I smiled back. I shut the locked door and waited a split second, and then, “Nice truck.” I nodded my chin at the burgundy 4x4. That’s what you do when casually complimenting another guy’s pickup; you give a little jerk of a nod in that direction. I grew up knowing that too.

The dark haired guy raised his eyebrows, then grinned. He had his keys in his hands. “Thanks!” he chuckled. The smile stayed on his lips.

I strolled around the tailgate, checked to see if it had farm plates, which it didn’t, and looked over the welded cargo grate covering the box. In a flash I remembered my Dad apologizing for the blemish on the tailgate when he was done the paint job. “The tailgate gets wrecked before the rest of the truck. You’ll paint the tailgate three times for every body job you do on the rest of it.” I wondered if those three guys were checking out that tailgate and every little scratch from all the times I squeezed into car-sized parking spots with bushes planted behind. I pictured them looking at the three stickers: Ontario Equestrian Federation. Homestead Rodeo. John Deere. What can you tell about a girl by the stickers on her truck? Did they wonder if it was mine, or my dad’s, or my husband’s? Do other women drive pickups in this town? Do they have any idea that I could be as much as fifteen years older than them?

I looked over my shoulder when I was past. They all lingered between the two trucks, watching me cross the lane into the shop. Under the lamp overhead, I could see that the young man with the keys still had that smile on his face.


dilling said...

you're so cool

Tod said...

Heidi I love this. I know you are busy writing stuff for your books but it is a treat to read this on your blog. :)

lexiloo said...

great post. it must be very empowering to drive a big truck!

jules said...

You're such a cool chic!


and a right charmer 'n all eh? You made his day babe.

Heidi the Hick said...

Dilling no YOU'RE so cool!

Tod, I'm so glad you like! (I'm shamefully not nearly busy enough doing book writing. Poking at it. Eyeballing it. Okay we'll call it busy...!)

Lexiloo. Hello. Yes it is very empowering to drive a truck. I like it. A lot. (I have size issues.) I don't so much love parking it. Although, y'know, if everybody else has to wait for me to park...what are they gonna do about it? mwahahaha!

Jules, thanks! I have my moments. The rest of the time, duuuuh.

4D, hey, somebody's gotta bring some joy to the lives of others, right?

A Paperback Writer said...

Wow. I am so jealous. Not about the truck. But that you felt beautiful and had 3 guys looking at you.
You go, girl. :)

Heidi the Hick said...

I think we should all feel beautiful. Wouldn't it be a nice world to live in?

LadyBronco said...

Heidi had three dudes checkin' her out - AND she drives a truck.

You are so my hero! :0)

tj said...

...Hello, happened over here via PW's site and loved the story - great blog!

...Blessings... :o)

tj said...

...Oh yeah and one more thing, your post title and the picture? I look at that and say, "what truck?" lol... Mmmmm hmmmm, he's hot! :o)

coffeypot said...


Biddie said...

You ARE beautiful.
BTW, there is an award at my place for you :)

Anita said...

Love this... My truck isn't big, but it's a 4x4... :)
I have a bumper sticker that gets lots of comments... none from guys though... it says
"obedient women rarely make history"

Heidi the Hick said...

According to my research- and it is research, honestly, it's not creepy stalking, believe!- that was his truck. I can't remember exactly what year it is but I know it's in the 1955-56-57 range. Cuz I knows my trucks pretty good and all.

It's a gorgeous colour and was all packaged up with a Corvette engine. Yowwwwwww!!!!!

I wonder if he still has it.

Because then my mind would be officially blown.

I do know he still has that black jacket though! He wore it on the Letterman show last year.

(I still have stuff I was wearing 15 years ago!!!!)

Heidi the Hick said...

"obedient women rarely make history"

That would be so appropriate for me!

Grandmar just came back from Florider with a new Homestead Rodeo sticker for my tailgate!

Heidi said...

Heidi - such a beautifully written slice-of-life! You could collect blogs like this and publish them someday!

I admit - a bit with shame - that I drive a minivan (hey-I got three kids and lots of family around, so I need the eight seats and indoor storage), but I do, every now and then, drive around in my husband's quad-cab, extended bed Ram (also silver!), and I feel powerful and sexy! :)

Heidi the Hick said...

Mini vans are the most practical motor vehicle ever invented.

But trucks... I mean, you can pull trailers with them and haul stuff...and feel really awesome while driving!

Heidi the Hick said...

Heidi- thanks for the compliment!

CindyDianne said...

I have a t-shirt that says "Well Behaved Woman Rarely Make History". Last year, KB and I met a preacher at a BBQ place to take him to lunch. I wore it then.

I love my truck! Love it.

Yes, you can tell about the girl by the stickers.

Nicely written!

Anita said...

Hey Cindy - love that... SOrt of like the day President Bush came to town and I wore my T-shirt that says "I'll try being nicer, if you try being smarter"... heh-heh