Thursday, March 26, 2015

Guys in Old Trucks

When I was four I got a toy for Christmas that let me manipulate a miniature  metal car around tiny roads painted onto cardboard. The  4" steering wheel was attached to a magnet under the road map.  If the red roadster was over the unseen magnet, and I moved the wheel very carefully, I could jerk the car more or less near the printed lanes.

It was very unsatisfying.

Nowadays, I love to drive the curves and hills near our home. My daughter says she can't believe how fast I go, but she's used to city gridlock.

We live in the country, and I know I will occasionally get stuck behind tractors and field sprayers. I don't chafe, I don't grumble, it's part of our lifestyle.

But I have NOT come to grips with guys in old trucks.

These guys have grown up with those dull colored, somewhat dented trucks. Truck and driver have witnessed each other's triumphs and defeats. They know each others moods.

Do the drivers wonder what happened to their lean young selves who jumped into the shiny cabs, and hit the road like broncs out of the gate?

I do!

Now they drive their trucks just like their tractors--inching along.  Doing 30 in a 45 mph zone even tho' they've driven this road thousands of times. If I know which direction to lean into the next curve, surely they do. What happened to their muscle memory?

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Many of them are the same guys with new sedans in their garages, covered, so they'll last forever. On Sundays they fold the tarps, load in the wife, and head out for church or lunch driving like sightseers.

I grind my teeth behind the driver in a new Hummer, applying just enough force to the gas pedal to run a sewing machine. Why not just drive a tank? Or the lawn mower? They'll all three get home at the same time.

There's no justice. I drive an unsporty Toyota Echo. But I make sure it breaks the speed limit every once in awhile, so the car and I can pretend its a Porsche. 

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