na foine ting

Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Let me tell you the story behind my new truck.

But first, here's the truck:

Gavin named it Dratini, after this Pokemon guy:

And here's the story:

My first ever car was a '63 Chevy Impala, which had had one owner: my grandmother. She'd installed curb feelers on all the fenders, which gave it the appearance of an enormous oxidizing white whiskered submarine.

The Impala drove something like a tank. I know this because my dad used to drive tanks and told me so. Also because I was sixteen and drove like a teenager and liked to parallel park in San Francisco on hills and frequently had to move cars in my way to do so. With the Impala this was practically effortless, although the mileage--about 2 miles a gallon--was killing me.

After the Impala I somehow wound up with my grandfather's '67 Chevy Camaro, SS, Camaro red, with a white vinyl top and a 350 under the hood. Not much better gas mileage, but way faster. And no whiskers.

After I totalled the Camaro

[pause for respectful moment of mourning and for the anguished screams of car enthusiasts to die down]

--I had a string of beater cars. Corollas, Volvos from the sixties that had been used to tote surfboards, and finally an '88 Bronco II that I loved to pieces, and saw me through both firefighting and hockey, carrying in its generous cargo area everything from sticks to goalie pads to a dozen stacked rolls of three-inch hose.

I loved the Bronco, but every once and a while I dreamed of a car with things like a seat that faced to the front instead of tilting to the side. I dreamed of side view mirrors that I didn't have to reach out and manually hold up to see what was behind me.

I dreamed--sitting on Highway 198 in 110 degree heat waiting for the firefighters to clear the road--of air conditioning.

Dreaming led to looking at other people's cars, thinking "if I didn't have beater cars, what would I drive?"

The perfect vehicle would be big enough for hockey gear, friends' hockey gear (even goalies), *and* the friends, while having a kickass stereo system and reasonable comfort. It would be good for camping and good to take kids and family for the road trips we're prone to taking. It would be a reasonable size: something I could drive without feeling like I was taking up more than my fair share of gas, ozone and the road.

It would have side view mirrors that stayed up unaided.

It would have air conditioning.

Cut to earlier this spring: I'm leaving a Sharks practice in the Bronco, hustling back to work after happily watching the Sharks for an hour or so. I see a great-looking SUV pull up next to me at the stoplight, and spend a few moments noticing how reasonably sized, comfortable and perfect looking it is before I notice who's driving it.

I mean, clearly this truck has room for hockey gear. And clearly it's air conditioned.

Oh, and that extremely gorgeous guy in it is Nils Ekman, who judging by the warmth and softness of the smile on his handsome mug can only be talking to his girlfriend on the phone.

I stare, mostly on the pretense of checking out his truck some more but finally the light changes and he pulls ahead and I'm left realizing I'm still stopped at a green with a really dorky grin on my face.

It was a silver Ford Escape.

The holy grail of trucks after that moment, the only truck I wanted to own.

Now this is all highly amusing to any of you who know me, and even more amusing to those of you who have ridden in any one or all of my collection of fine beater cars.

Me. With a truck with power windows. With power anything. With air conditioning.

Still, I looked around Yahoo Auctions and Ebay and read the consumer reports, and Becca very kindly didn't laugh me out of the room when I mentioned that used ones started at around 16k or so.

"Get a new job, then we'll talk," she said, which was fair, and I thought that was as far as it would go.

But then it happened. A strange combination of events which looks an awful lot like kismet, and just bears out that I was really meant to own Nils Ekman's truck.

I mentioned my truck. I mentioned loving my truck but wanting an Escape. I mentioned it in the locker room, where my teammate Carrie was. Carrie had an Escape she wanted to sell.

I mean, really wanted to sell.

Then events tumbled even faster in a direction they never go in my life. The easy, successful direction. I got a loan I never expected to get, all the paperwork got done and we actually had the cash on hand for the down and I got it insured and we signed things and I took Carrie and Bec and Gavin and the loan agent out for Thai food and


there I am, driving my new truck around town.

It's gorgeous. It's comfortable. I can make the driver's seat do Astronaut Position. I can listen to six CDs at once. The windows go up and down and up and down and the moon roof slides back and forth and back and forth and the power locks go clickclickclickclickclick. It goes vrroom and handles like my Bronco only tighter. It has the feel of a friends' truck, well loved, well taken care of and happily handed over.

And the airconditioning works really damn well.


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See Ya There!!!
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