Monday, December 14, 2015

It's just a truck. It does not have feelings. It is not a living thing.

 We decommissioned my pickup truck.  We retired it.  We parked it in front of my dad's shop, pulled all the funny pins out of the headliner, took off the plates, and walked away.  It's over.  And I'm sad, dammit.

You know how ever since I started writing this blog, ten years ago, I've been driving the same truck?  The behemoth formerly known as the Mothertrucker, then affectionately renamed The HONEYBADGER.

1989 GMC Sierra.  Burgundy and silver, extended cab, long box.  Extra leaf springs on the back, supposedly to make it capable of carrying more weight, but most of the time just made it look extra badass.  I put fancy taillights on it and had my husband take my picture leaning on the tailgate, looking all sneaky.  People recognized this ridiculous rolling display of overcompensation.  They'd see the red GMC logo coming at them from between the squinty square headlights and they'd wave.  There goes Heidi.

summer 2015 - the most badass truck ever.  A little too badass actually.  

The rougher and uglier it got over the years, the more fun it was.  There is something gloriously liberating about driving a vehicle that just does not give a crap anymore. After the paint job when we first got the truck, I swear I physically felt every little scratch and poke and dent, but eventually the fear fades.  I mean, obviously you don't want to get hit, but I'm just saying, dirt roads aren't cause for anxiety because what's a coating of dust going to do?  A trip through the pasture to load up some good three year old compost out of the pile?  No problem.  Even though I carried a can of wet wipes and spent a lot of toonies on vacuuming -- I'm still a GIRL after all, geez -- I just did not worry about the wear and tear of life.  Heck, this truck got hit a lot while we owned it.  Once, we got a different door, painted it silver, and kept going.  Another time, my son got rear-ended at low speed on his way home from school, by another, newer and shinier truck.  The other guy straightened out his front license plate, they both shrugged, exchanged info, and kept going.

Things would sometimes fall off my truck, but if it was anything important I'd just throw it in the box and head on my way.  Things would sometimes stop working.  Occasionally if I left it long enough, things would sort of fix themselves up.  Yeah, I don't know either.  I carried so much stuff in this truck.  In the box, and in the cab.  Dirty things in the box.  Dog and kids and groceries in the cab.

Dobby's last truck ride.  

The sagging headliner was held up by buttons from my childhood collection.  As if that wasn't enough of an indication of a borderline hoarding problem, I also stashed little pieces of other vehicles in it… the chrome trim piece from a Pontiac Beaumont (Canadian version of Chevy Chevelle) which wasn't worth anything to my ol' man's flea market stuff because it's broken and now only says BEAUMO.  I hid that in the cubby hole.  And the window crank from the same car found its way into the door pocket of my truck before the car itself went to the scrap yard.  It's like I'm still twelve, scavenging in the long grass.  I found an unlucky rabbit's tail a few years ago.  That rode around in the dash cubby with my insurance and ownership slips as well as an extra pen.  I covered the front seat with a rag rug, complete with carefully stitched holes for the seat belts.

My truck was an environmental disaster.  There is no reason for any vehicle to suck down that much fuel, especially in return for so little relative power, in this day and age.  It's a dinosaur.  It's way too much truck for a small woman.  But it's AWESOME.  I sit way up there, seeing everything around me.  I've got big side mirrors, enabling me to see all the way to the back bumper.  So what if it's too damn long to drive into a parking spot between two cars?  Backing in is so sweet and easy!  Even though we all had to train ourselves to think ahead in town, as in, if I drive into this parking lot, can I get back out again?  I mean, that just builds character, right?

I have loved this truck so much.   I feel good in my truck.  I feel right.  I feel like myself.  My dad is famous for his 60 year old green Ford truck.  As a teenager, I got to drive it to school a few times, and of course, got the farmer wave (hand raised, first two fingers up) from most of the fellas on the road.  They didn't look to see him; they didn't need to. In the last few years, I've been getting that wave.  We recognize each other by our trucks.  Guys with dairy herds and barns and garages stick a hand up as we pass on the road.  They know my truck.  They know me.  This must mean I belong, right?  It's like the truck is an extension of my exterior.

I have a ridiculous and irrational love for my truck.

It's 26 years old, we paid $1600 for it, and we have squeezed eleven years out of it.

But it's over.

I feel like I'm saying goodbye to an old friend.

So many adventures.

Bucky chose to drive the Honeybadger to school, first day of his last year.  

I'm not sure why.  For LOLS.  I guess.  

Selina moving out of her college apartment.

Leaving college with a truck load of worldly possessions.  

Dobby holding down the front seat like a boss.  Like a farm dog.  Like a farm pug.  

Dump run.  "Honeybadger" became a verb.  "Just gotta honeybadger this crap to the dump this afternoon."

Bus run.  Waiting to pick up the kids.

Scrap run.

Hay run.  

Magnificent beast, happily not blending in.  

Up until about six months ago, I was still considering what kind of paint we'd get to fix it up, and how exactly we'd solve the sagging door problem.  This was even after the taillights stopped working.  Since late winter, the truck has been playing the role of Cinderella… gotta get her home before midnight.  Specifically, before dark.  Not cool.  I should have known when the problem wasn't solved at home, and I was too cheap/broke to take it to the garage in town to get fixed, that it was as good as over for the ol' Honeybadger.  I felt so much worse than the growing embarrassment over its deteriorating condition.

Here's a list of what we couldn't do with our truck anymore:

- take it to the car wash anymore, because blasting it with high pressure water tends to make those little holes in the body bigger.
- drive it after sunset.
- roll the driver's side window down, not for the last two years actually, and this past summer I never knew if the passenger side window was coming back up again if I put it down.
-drive it without seriously considering how to get home if it quit.  It wasn't running well anymore.  My daughter was getting less and less enthused about driving it down the dirt road ten minutes to get to her job.  After we moved to our little house on the edge of town, I started worrying about the six minute drive to the farm for chores.

Basically, for the last month or so, we've been trying to get all of our truck-related jobs done before we get rid of it.  This really sucks, because when you've been a Truck Person, which I have been for much of my life, you get used to it and you get spoiled.  You even put up with being the Friend With The Truck and you don't mind doing truck jobs for people, because they'll give you gas money and sometimes pizza and DUH YOU GET TO DRIVE A PICKUP TRUCK.  It's so friggen great.  Driving a pickup truck might be a generally wasteful and egotistical thing to do if you're not filling the box every day, but damn if it doesn't feel awesome.

Until… it doesn't feel awesome anymore.  Until it just feels unsafe and financially infeasible.

As much as it feels like I'm taking a faithful old dog for a final trip to the vet, this is just a machine that has outlived its usefulness.  It's going to the scrap yard.  I'll get a few bucks just for the size and weight of it, but that's about all it's worth now.

I will still be me after it's gone.

I'll be me in a Volkswagen.  I'll get my hay delivered by a neighbour's tractor and wagon, and I know I can fit three bags of shavings and one feed bag in the little Jetta.  I know the lumber yard will deliver too.  I'm trying to rationalize how normal people get by without pickup trucks.  People do it.  I've done it for a few truck-less years.  I hope we can get another truck in the future, and it'll be a better one than this one was when we got it, and I'll get more than a decade out of it, and I'll love it, because I just believe if you're going to drive something, you should feel good about it.

We took all of the ice scrapers and seat covers and unlucky rabbit tails and emergency blankets and jugs of brake fluid out of the truck. Emergency blankets, one red mitten, somebody's undershirt.  I didn't ask.  Approximately twenty various tie-downs, bungee cords, and ratchet straps.  Tire bar, ball hitch, big red hitch pin.  The truck bat.  Because my son felt it necessary to drive around with a thing he named "the truck bat." I'll put all that stuff in the shed for the next truck.  Under the license plate.  Maybe some day a different, newer truck will wear that license plate.  Or maybe not.  I'm keeping the fancy taillights, just in case.  And… the grille, so that whenever I go get a gardening tool I can look fondly at the big intimidating red GMC logo, right at eye level where it belongs.

I was the small woman with the big ol pickup truck.

I will again be that version of me.


jules said...

I'm sorry about your truck. I had a Trooper like that. Loved that truck. Hopefully it won't be long before you can get another.

Thanks for checkin' in. I get worried, you know.

Love ya Heidi. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours.

Paul Tee said...

Lament for a valiant steed

I have taken you wherever you wanted to go
Whether my tank was topped off or low
I started every time you turned the key
I never asked you to let me be
Faithfully every day I carried on
Through driving snow, ice or slush
I carried you to shop, your kids to school
To church, to doctors, never feared a tool
I never complained, I never said a word
Stood patiently outside waiting by the curb
carried on as if I were still young
as if driving as before were still fun
but underneath my skin the rust grew
and year by year less power flew
I lost my glow, my verve
But I could still make the curve
Sure I grew old, doesn’t everything?
It came time that I wasn’t worth to fix
What comes next? My wheels won’t turn
I don’t have the energy and everything rattles
Where are my plates, my identity?
I still remember good times and laughter
Now I just want to sleep
let someone else weep
Will you replace me with something newer?
Do all wrecks go to heaven?
Adieu… Hail farewell

Anonymous said...

You have my sympathy. I've got a '97 Ranger, bought new, that's not quite so capable but is similarly appreciated. I very much hope it will keep on rolling for decades to come. Best wishes for another truck eventually, even if it's not necessarily the most logical thing to have.

Undercover Sandy Cove-r said...

A big part of your life is bound to that truck. It may not breathe or have sentient feelings but it got to know you and you, it. It was comfy and familiar and you knew where it could take you. Maybe not get you home so much...

Heidi the Hick said...

Awww thanks everybody for being so understanding!!

I do think we'll go without for the winter. I would just like to cut down our expenses for awhile. Y'know, until I feel the absolute need for another totally illogical machine in my life.

I told one of my cousins today that I got rid of my truck and she said, finally died eh? Well, no it didn't, that was the problem! It's parked under a tree at the farm, looking sad and pathetic with no plates on it, waiting to go to the scrapyard.

Paul thanks for the ode!

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