Shangri La

Shangri La

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Return of an Old Friend

A few years ago, I traded my VW Jetta in for a Ford Ranger. Something about the increasing comments from coworkers, friends and acquaintances about how the Jetta was the quintessential 'girls car'. The Ranger was a decided departure from my previous rides - not being small, foreign-made and impractical - but I quickly realized that I had been looking for it all my adult life.

That truck - and a set of pneumatic nail guns - changed my life. New trim work for the house? Done. Cabinets for the basement? No problem. 3 cubic yards of mulch for the landscaping? Be back in a sec. And, on a more personal level, I was no longer the only car in a line of pickup trucks on a Saturday waiting to get in to the dump.

On the one hand, I was horrified: I had finally become my father. On the other, I could finally buy full sheets of plywood from the Depot. Fair trade.

Life was great for one gloriously productive year, and then the long suffering wife announced that we 2 would soon be 3. When the dust settled, I had traded both the Ranger and her beloved Mini Cooper in on a Hyundai Sonata. She was too sick to care, but I felt like I had lost my right arm. I tried to console myself with a seven-year old Chevy S-10, but I came to hate it almost as much as I had loved the Ranger. After a year, I couldn't stand the sight of it anymore and sold it.

After one long truckless year, I finally broached the topic with the LSW. I carefully reasoned that we had three vehicles to haul people, and none to haul stuff. As our cabin was going to be built largely by me, and was going to be made primarily from stuff, we'd need a way to transport both me AND my stuff 2 hours away to Shangra-La. How would I do this, I puzzled, arms raised in confusion. "If only I had something like the Ranger again," I said thoughtfully, stroking my beard and looking off toward the ceiling.

"Do whatever you want," she replied while walking out of the room. I've had a different vehicle every 2-3 years since she's known me, and - apparently - she's finally realized that protesting is futile. "Hot damn!" I mused, "I've finally broken her spirit!"

And so, on December 23 at 1 PM, a Ford Ranger XLT 4-cyl 4x2 Regular Cab joined the Hyundais in the yard. Christened with a 'VT' sticker in the rear window, it's ready for stuff-hauling duty in 2009. But now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to the dump...

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