All right, it was “just” a 10-year relationship, but I didn’t think it would hurt this bad to part. Sure, we had skied together in Canada and kayaked in Key West, Fla. We had been through 100,000 miles of snowstorms, hailstorms, tropical rain and blistering Florida heat. We had been to weddings and funerals, parties and cookouts.
But it was time and we both knew it.
There was no one else involved. The coup de grace occurred at the gas station at the corner of Route 17 and Old Country Road. The mighty Tundra was bone dry and I stopped for gas. It cost $82 to fill up the tank and I had never even left Knox County.
That was it. I loved carrying stuff around and going to the dump with a full load of rubbish and recyclables. I loved lashing down both the kayak and bicycle for the annual trip to Florida even if it cost something like $800. For gas. It would have been cheaper to fly. But those planes continue to flaunt the laws of God and fly at 30,000 feet in the air. No thanks.
There was never any driveway shoveling at Cobb Manor. Not with a four-wheel-drive truck. When it snowed, you just drove it back and forth until you created a rut in the driveway. Then, you simply used the “ram in, ram out” method until the snow melted. I never got many visitors in the winter.
Once gas prices headed for $4 a gallon and oil companies were making more money than any other business since the beginning of time, it was time for a change, sadly. I never made much money with the Tundra. The heaviest thing I ever hauled was David Grima.
I casually mentioned on Facebook that it was time to part with the Tundra. Jon Bailey was at the door 45 minutes later with $100 bills stuffed in his shirt. He actually used his truck for honest work and could afford the $80 gas bills. I could not. Sold.
I made the mistake of “detailing” the maroon beast at Rockport’s Hot Wax as part of the transaction. When I went to pay for the process I saw the Tundra for the last time, gleaming in the driveway. Richard Pryor warned us years ago that your woman never looks better than when she comes through the door on someone else’s arm. Hot Wax workers had painted and buffed out all of the kayak and bicycle scratches and all those souvenirs from the Allagash back roads. They even washed and vacuumed the interior, removing 100,000 miles of French fries and ketchup stains. It never looked so good.
I made a horrible mistake! I never should have sold the Tundra. It looked fabulous, now that it was going to drive off with Bailey, for another driveway, another house, another driver. Bailey expressed no sympathy. He said he needed the truck more than I did and a deal was a deal.
I took Bailey’s money and returned to an old love, a well-used Honda Accord, trying to kill the heartache. I had eight Hondas before this one, before one transmission blew a decade ago at a mere 30,000 miles. The dealer gave me a fire-breathing, V8, four-wheel-drive monster as a loaner during the transmission repair. That was it. That loaner led to the Tundra. Who knew that gas would go to $4 a gallon?
Now I am suffering from that well-known buyer’s remorse. Yes, the Honda EX is smooth as silk, fast as you want it. When I pull into Fowlies’ Overpriced Emporium now, the fill-up is $18 or $20 instead of the $40-$50 tab I was used to. Trips to Portland, prohibitively expensive in the truck, are now almost affordable. The gold Honda will save me at least $500 on that February Florida trip.
But when I take my smelly refuse to the dump — landfill in polite circles — I have to mess up my pretty Honda. Now, I take one bag at a time. That smell is overpowering. I had forgotten. In the Tundra I would clean out the barn of rubbish, recyclables and all those returnable bottles in a single trip and never sniffed a thing.
My only solution to life’s problems is lottery tickets, more and more lottery tickets. Now I will load up on Megabucks, Mega Millions and Weekly Grand tickets financed with my gasoline savings. When I hit the jackpot — and I know I will — I will buy myself a gleaming, V8, four-wheel-drive red Tundra. Then I will drive by Bailey’s house, beeping the horn.
But until then, what am I going to do when it snows? Shovel the driveway?
Send complaints and compliments to Emmet Meara at firstname.lastname@example.org.