One of the most dependable, stable relationships I have in my life is not with a girl, a pet , or a plant.
It is with a silver machine; an internal cumbustion-engine powered, 4-wheel-drive extended cab 2001 Toyota Tacoma.
I like luxury automobiles. I love muscle cars and imported cars and domestic cars. I could have purchased a fancy car when I was in the market a few years ago, but I was drawn to this particular truck – and when I saw it, I knew I had to have it.
I’m the kind of guy who likes to carry stuff. It might be someone’s belongings, camping gear, furniture, my mountain bike or even a pile of grocery bags. I like that when I want to schlep something from Here to There, I can do it quickly and conveniently. I chose the Tacoma.
The truck doesn’t have a name. It’s not in perfect shape – when I bought it, it had a little tiny dent in it. The kid who owned it backed into something the day he drove it off the lot. I thought it gave the vehicle a little character,like me, so I never considered fixing it.
It’s pretty clean, inside and out, but I don’t polish it with a cloth diaper or spend hours detailing it every weekend. I have it serviced regularly, from oil changes to timing chains to transmission flushes. I respect the hard work it performs for me, so I tend to its basic needs with regularity.
There’s a little part of me that likes being a truck owner – it’s proof to the world that I’m not too precious or entitled. I drove it up to the reception area of a fabulous 5-star resort in Carmel Valley, surrounded by BMW’s and Porsches. The guy in the Porsche treated the bellman with a bit of scurrilous contempt, if I overheard their conversation correctly…
” You are going to park this in a safe place, aren’t you?” Poindexter asked with condescension.
“Yes sir, we will take good care of it for you”
” Do you know how to drive?”
“Yes sir, I am a skilled driver…”
“I hope so.”
There was more, but I’ll spare you the rudeness. What an effete little douchebag this guy was.
I mentioned my observation to the bellman when it was my turn to check in. Trained well by his managers, he sloughed off my comment with a smile.
I noticed he parked the Tacoma right in front of the lot, right next to the reception area.
You want to give me the Porsche? I will take it, love it, and enjoy it. I’m not driving the Tacoma to make a point, I just like it. I like how it drives. I like the throaty sound of the mufflers when I punch it on the freeway. I like that I can climb a mountain with it, or the Waldo Grade, or the driveway of a 5-star resort. It conquers everything.
I recently took the Tacoma in for a routine oil change. The service manager came out to deliver the news. Dear Reader, stand by for some amazing car dealer honesty!
He paused, and smiled.
“Well, I got nothin’.”
I looked at him quizzically. “What do you mean?”
He laughs a little laugh. “There is absolutely nothing wrong with this truck. it’s got 127,000 miles on it and not one thing leaks or creaks. I have nothing to upsell you with!”
Then he mentions he could swing it over to the body shop and we could take care of that little tiny dent…
“I’m good, thanks.”
If I win the lottery, I will not get rid of the Tacoma. I will buy a Mercedes, yes – but I will NEVER abandon my beloved truck for a prettier, shinier mistress. That truck has never left me on the side of the road. Just when I think I am as far on E as I can possibly be, it manages to squeeze out a couple more miles so I don’t have to be That Guy on the Bay Bridge. It starts when I turn the key. It does what I ask it to do, with unconditional love and not a word of complaint.
Some of the most important people in my life have been with me in my Tacoma. Some of the most wrenching conversations of my life have taken place in it. Some stellar goodnight kisses have been planted in that extended cab. My truck and I have seen much of the West Coast together – beaches, mountains, back roads and dirt roads and scenic vistas and awesome campsites and 5-star hotels.
I love to drive; fast cars, sports cars and muscle cars. I have that Need for Speed (apologies for the cliché). I love to drive my Tacoma, however, more than anything. It’s a good friend – it likes to take me to places I like to go.
I drive when I’m blue. I drive to see things. I drive to meet people. It’s got a good sound system, so music (or NPR) is always on. The Tacoma has seen me through good times and bad, tough days and awesome adventures.
I love my truck. We’d be happy to give you a lift sometime.