I've been known to drive old, dumpy vehicles until they explode. (Not into balls of flames, mind you, but usually something awesome like the head gasket goes.)
My favorite was a 1977 Nissan King Cab 4x4, 5 speed, burnt orange with actual rust highlights and white canopy. It had tiny little speakers, doors that rattled and a really loud engine, Tweed seat covers and a carpeted dash. (yes, I hung a handmade yarn tassel with a bell from the rear view mirror.)
We did everything together: Country Fair, Smith Rock, sliding on icy streets, driving up the east side of Sandy river, revving the engine every time the clutch went in so it wouldn't die. (I know, total gas guzzler!)
I called it my Classic Rock Truck. So, naturally that was the music we listened to in the Tank.
In the summertime, my inflatable raft lived in back. After a day of painting houses, I'd meet Pete and whoever else came along at Dabney with a case of cans for a float down the river. That truck belongs in a carefree chapter of life, full of young love, lots of sunshine and herbs, and little sleep.
But what I remember most is listening to The Eagles, Stevie Nicks, James Taylor, Black Sabbath etc... as I drove through the summery green forest of Oregon - with the perfect sunny skies, 82 degrees and a feeling of complete freedom.
It's that sense of freedom, so similar to inner peace, that makes my love affair with a truck so alluring, like a magnet in my memories.
The Classic Rock Truck is a symbol. A character in a story. She represents the first time in my life when I WAS free. I could go wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I didn't need permission or to worry about someone else's time commitments. No one cared what time I came home or who'd I'd been with or what I was doing. I had space, time and freedom to form my opinions, to dream things possible, and make plans all for myself.
This is when I truly fell in love with myself.
It is this sense of freedom that I still tap into when I'm feeling stifled and squashed in my tiny house in the flatlands of Middle America; where no one plays music on the street corner and the mountains aren't hiding behind the clouds and trees.
'They' say that hearing or smelling can transport you instantly to the past. I believe it! I can't listen to Cat Stevens without thinking of an old roommate and her record player, the cranberries and my sister, or led zeppelin and that truck.
I only had her for a year. But it was a sweet love affair.
What love affair do you still remember fondly?