Monday, December 03, 2007

Ah, good times from North High

First of all, I just have to say my favorite signature line: Boomer Sooner!!! Big 12 champs!! Fiesta Bowl, here we come...I feel good about the matchup and just hope it ends up better than last year.

In other thoughts.....

Last night we were talking with some friends about our first vehicles. It's interesting because when you're 16 and 17-years old, it's like a rite of passage to have an old clunker. An old station wagon that takes three turns in the ignition to work. Or the El Camino with a horn that only works when you turn left. You know....something outrageous.

Unfortunately, my life was surrounded by 16-year-olds with Lexus', BMW's and Corvettes. I'm not even kidding..."roughing it" was getting a 2-year-old Chevy instead of one of the many new imports. Yes, I went to the rich kid's school.

So, it was with a mix of emotions that I accepted the offer from my dad to drive his truck my senior year. On the one hand, I finally didn't have to rely on friends for rides (I'd given up the bus after a humiliating freshman year--NO ONE rides the bus. Kind of like NO ONE lives in the dorms their sophomore year, but that's another story). On the other hand, it was a 1979 yellow Toyota pickup with a white camper shell on the back that I'm not sure ever came off.

My favorite (?) traumatizing memory of that old truck was that every afternoon after school, I would have to get in the back of the truck and dig out all the Wendy's and Sonic bags from lunch when the seniors went out. They'd come back and throw their trash in the back of my yellow nightmare and I'd be stuck cleaning it up. It took all I had not to throw it on top of the brand new Explorer and Lexus I parked next to. But, I guess it gave me character and at least I had a ride.

In fact....my truck also led me to write an article for the school newspaper. And after recounting my first adventure driving the truck, I won first place in a state journalism competition. I used to be such a good writer...I'd love to share with you all of my stories, but here is the one you'd really enjoy. You could tell it was really written for a blog post in the future, even though blogs didn't exist yet!
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Parent Practices Car Tough Love
Should a Daughter Change a Tire--Even if She Cries?
By Jessica Pearson, North Staff Writer (1998)

My hair was tangled, my clothes dirty, and my face stained with mascara as each tear fell.

I'd never felt so alone. There was my dad, saying all he wanted to do was help me, so why wasn't he helping? I screamed at him and cried some more. He just looked at me and told me to keep trying.

There I was, standing in what felt like 158-degree weather, the sun beating down on me, trying to change the tire on the soon-to-be-mine truck.

For a year and a half I've been the proud owner of an Oklahoma State Drivers License, yet I've been "vehicularly" deprived. Now, my senior year, I had a job and the need for a car of my own.

Sounds easy, right? Well take it from a chronic spender; you can't buy a car without a lot of money. So, I was forced to ask my dad to borrow and care for his truck for a year.

This is no cruising, smooth truck though. We're talking a 1979 lemon-yellow Toyota pickup truck with a white camper on the back and rust spots to give it character. Not to mention its lack of air conditioning, heat, and push button radio, which furthers the charm. The worst part: it's standard transmission.

So I took a Saturday out of my social schedule and arranged for a driving lesson with my dad.

Though I'd been taught on an automatic, I figured, being a fast learner, I could pick up the art of shifting in no time. But my father wouldn't stop at just learning to drive the truck. I had to learn how to maintain and care for it as well. That includes changing a flat tire, checking the fluids and changing both the filter and oil.

So, that day, driving took us to some hole-in-the-wall town called Okarchee where he told me to pull over to the side of the road. We were going to change a tire.

Not bad, I thought; it's hot so I'll work harder, and we'll be on our way in no time.

Nope. Have you ever tried to change a tire? It's a complicated process of strength and endurance. Neither quality of which I possess. I'm a 5'4", 110-pound weakling who didn't even like dirt as a child. Watching me try to loosen a lugnut on the tire must have been comic.

I was kicking and screaming in frustration, jumping on the crowbar to knock the lugnut loose. The little lemon-yellow truck was rocking back and forth with every jump.

Well, finally I managed to pry the tire off. Then came removing the spare from its home beneath the truck. I put on yet another wrenching, crying, kicking, and screaming show.

Eventually I took the old tire off, put the new tire on, and I was done. It had been a long, hard, difficult job, but I had done it--sobbing my heart out the entire time.

I felt I had accomplished something. I had done sweaty, dirty work that I never thought of doing. I had always figured that if I ever had a flat tire, I could whip out a cell phone and call my dad, boyfriend, or some other guy to come and fix it for me.

But now I could do a co-called "man's" job.

My arms may have been sore, my eyes swollen from crying, and I might have been filthy, but I knew how to change a tire. And the worst afternoon of my life was over--at least until Dad gives me the next tough love lesson in maintaining an automobile.
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Now, I just whip out my cell phone and call my husband. Why else would I have gotten married?!

3 comments:

Cary said...

I have heard legends of this truck but have yet to see photographic evidence that it existed.

Charly said...

I had an awful BIG ford pickup with a camper in high school. It was awful. It was my grandpa's and there was a sign he left in the back that said squash for sale. I came out of class one day to go home and it was propped up on my window. Oh the shame! I feel your pain. I unlike you have never learned to change a tire or oil and I have no need to do so....I just got married, right? I think it was in the vows somewhere.

jennifer said...

I so remember that truck! I remember us working together at La Petite and you driving there in that truck. I also remember some other things about you that will be left unsaid unless we are in a private conversation you and I! Nothing bad though, just interesting.