The End of an Era

I parted ways with a true friend this week. Someone I have spent nearly every day with in the past 13+ years; one who saw me through hard times and heartache, joy and pain. Now she’s gone, and my heart is a little bit broken.

photo of a dark grey Ford Ranger truck parked on the street

Okay, so “someone” wasn’t particularly accurate, but to me, she was much more than a vehicle and relegating her to a mere inanimate object seems crass and dismissive. Good Little Truck (GLT) came into my life in December of 1999. She had 128 miles on her when I got her, the result of driving her out from Modesto to ensure I had a car with A/C. My parents forced that issue because I am cheap and didn’t want to pay extra, but good lord I was thankful every summer for their insistence. A few weeks ago, this happened:

photo of Kym's truck's odometer reaching 250,000 miles

A quarter of a million miles on an American-made vehicle? What?!?!? Not only did she hit 250k, she did it on her original clutch. The only thing besides consumables that has been replaced on that truck is the fuel pump and the alternator; everything else is original. Something went perfectly right when that truck went down the assembly line because she gave me almost 14 years of near-perfect service. The alternator only had to be replaced because the battery went kablooey (not explosion kablooey, just, “Hey I’m going to fuck your alternator up because you are shit at taking care of basic car maintenance” kablooey), which was totally my fault. Did you know car batteries aren’t supposed to last eight years? I did not.

GLT moved me at least ten times over the course of our relationship. She took me from LA to NorCal countless times while I was in college and later when I was in a long-distance relationship. She recently allowed herself to be Beverly Hillbilly-ed out daily when I took on a huge decorating project for the non-profit I volunteer with. Seriously, I furnished seven family therapy rooms, which means seven living room type set ups – couches, chairs, bookshelves, desks, rugs, etc. I loaded her to the max nearly every day for two weeks and she didn’t complain once. Look at what this girl can do–

Photo of grey Ford Ranger at night loaded to the max with insulation
Packed to the max with insulation. God forbid we make two trips.

So no, I can’t refer to her as just a truck, some piece of machinery to get me from point A to point B. As she grew older, people would comment that I needed to start thinking about a new car. I would immediately shush them, refusing to discuss such matters while she was within earshot. When she was having problems with her fuel pump, a number of men in my life attempted to fix the issue. This was pointless, as I already knew how to fix it – when she was having trouble starting, I gave her a little massage, sitting in the driver’s seat with the door open and my foot on the ground, gently rocking her back and forth for a few minutes. Worked every single time, to their shock. I would regularly stroke the dashboard to let her know what a Good Little Truck she was.

But then, like the traitorous bitch that I am, I started to entertain the idea of getting a new car. I didn’t want to be in a position of purchasing something new out of desperation if GLT finally gave up on me. And so, the day after she hit 250k, what did I do? Bake her a cake and celebrate her amazing accomplishment? No. I bought a new car. As I drove away from her, parked there in the Nissan dealership lot, I was nearly in tears. She had driven me straight to her betrayal and now was being left there. When my husband drove me back later to pick her up (I wasn’t about to trade her in), I let him drive the new car home and I took my old girl. I thought I would continue to drive her daily until she was too tired to go on, but I was fooling myself. The allure of the new car was too enticing – the automatic transmission, the stereo system, the phenomenal gas mileage; it was too great to pass up. And so my girl sat in front of the house, forgotten and alone.

Last week, I needed to pick up a few pieces of furniture for the therapy room project that wouldn’t fit in the new car, so I fired my girl up. She started right up, even after sitting idle for three weeks. She got me to work, to pick up the furniture, and then back home. I parked her in the driveway to unload things. When I went to move her back out to the street, she wouldn’t start. Nothing but a painful “click click click” sound came from her. Husband said it was either the starter or the solenoid. We pushed her out of the driveway and into her spot, cranking the wheel with all my might as the power steering doesn’t work when the car isn’t on. We got her into position, then noticed a trail of fluids in her wake. Upon closer inspection, we figured out I had broken the power steering pump while trying to park her. I killed her. Okay, perhaps that is a bit over dramatic, as she can be fixed, but still. For my purposes, she is done. I cannot justify spending the money to fix her when I have a new car to pay for and another truck should I need one. The time has come to let her go, and I am having a rough time of it.

Jon suggested calling junkyards to see how much they would give me for the scrap. It took all my will as a pacifist and a domestic violence advocate not to slug him. Instead, I am giving her to one of his co-workers who is in desperate need of a vehicle and knows how to work on cars. I refuse to believe she is done. I hold firm to the belief that with a little TLC, she will go on to provide him with many more years of faithful service, and hopefully he will love and cherish her as much as I do.


2 replies on “The End of an Era”

i have had the same feelings with a little red honda cvcc that tuned pink, a brown cabriolet, and a black honda civic. i cried after trading in each one. my 2005 red salsa pearl prius has 150,000 miles, and we just had to replace the big-ass battery. it will be a VERY bad day when we take her in for good.

I can’t tell you how much this rings true! I just parted with my friend of 14 years, Big Blue Monster. It was a heart-breaking decision but BBM (with 140k) was starting to go. Okay had been going for about three years if we’re being honest.

As I drove off the VW lot in my new Golf (now named Miles) I did have tears in my eyes but I can’t say I’ve missed the stress of not knowing if/when my car would break down and holycats A/C is AMAZING. And I can stream PODCASTS FROM MY PHONE WITH BLUETOOTH! It’s like I’m in the future. And I love it. Big Blue will always have a special spot in my heart but Miles and I are going to go far!

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