I can already feel the transformation, the metamorphosis nearly complete.
I’ve been in larval stage for years, making my way in this big, crazy world, unaware of my own potential with nothing but a sense something better awaited me if only I could shed this tight, tiny cocoon and spread my wings and drive.
That’s right. I moved from a car to a pickup truck. And I exaggerate nothing about how it changes a guy.
It’s been 16 years since I had a pickup truck and even then I wasted it. It helped me move on many an occasion, but as a broke renter—I had no need to haul or move dirt or rock. I remember three things about that truck: My camera was stolen from it; I once lost it under a massive murder of crows feasting on giant bag of dog food in the exposed box; and getting rid of it two years after I bought it because it had nowhere for a baby to sit. (I didn’t think it all the way through.)
Since then, all my cars were commuter cars. I’d sit in traffic feeling vulnerable, looking up at the bumpers of pickup trucks around me, cursing at them for spewing diesel fumes in my window and pretending to shake my fist when they roll up an inch from my bumper, headlights brighter than the sun. Pretending to shake my fist because like I said: I’m defenceless in a commuter car.
I’m convinced my father-in-law dumped his car and bought a truck as a defensive strategy against typical truck-driving behaviour. It’s highway brinkmanship.
“If I get in an accident with this,” he said once, “I won’t come out the loser.”
He's in his 70s. Don't let that frighten you. That’s not why I bought a truck, but the same thought occurs. It’s a whole different perspective up there. It changes everything and I can see a slippery slope to becoming ‘that guy’ with the jacked up F-350 bearing down on every other vehicle on the road forcing them out of his way just because he can. Usually has Alberta plates.
So quite apart from my zippy car with standard transmission… I drive like an old farmer, barely making it up to speed from light to light. No need for my internal radar for cop cars catching me for speeding. No rat-running or trying to race through traffic. I'm just fine in the slow lane, staying out of the way. My only trouble now is staying awake.
When you have a truck, it stirs some ancient primal instinct buried deep under Bluetooth, paint chips, kitchen aprons and moisturizers. It’s like… one minute you’re sipping mojitos on the deck, grilling eggplant and zucchini for dinner and it occurs to you… ‘hey, I can do That Job now.’
That heavy, dirty, oily, messy job that's gone undone for years, waiting for that friend with a truck to come help you. You can handle it now. You’re free of the constraints that come with a measly little car. Your world is suddenly so full of possibility. And before you know it, you’ve got a beer and a sausage and yer gettinerdun.
I had this old dead motorcycle parked beside my house for seven years. It was felled either by an electrical problem or Black Magic; me fixing it is about as likely with either diagnosis. Well I got that sucker in the truck and hauled it on out of there. First weekend. BOOM. Then you start walking around thinking of all the other stuff you can do: I can tow a trailer. Or a boat. YES! I can get tonnes of firewood this year. HO HO. I can haul rocks. And fill. HA HA. I don’t need to rent a moving truck. Sure, I’ll help you move.
But then it also doesn’t take long to realize why friends with trucks never do those things, let alone show up to help with That Job.
It’s because their trucks are sitting in their driveways waiting for a paycheque and a tank of gas.
— Marshall Jones is the editor of InfoNews.ca