The Long Haul

I misspoke the other day when I wrote I never bought another yellow car after my first Mustang. As my daughter reminded me, I actually bought a bright, Mustang-yellow Datsun pickup after the Dodge Dart finally died.

Perhaps the Dart inspired me to buy an equally practical Datsun. It was as Plain Jane as I could buy, its only accessory a radio. No four-wheel drive, no V-8, just a slightly underpowered pickup that did anything you asked it to do. I would probably still be driving this truck today if I hadn’t divorced and the kids had complained bitterly about jamming three of us into the only seat.

By the time I bought the pickup, I had gone through an unexpected metamorphosis. I had been transformed from the youth who got his only “D” in K-12 in woodshop to an ambitious fix-it-upper who spent most of his summers working on the yard and house. I used the pickup to haul organic garden supplies and woodworking and remodeling supplies.

Strangely, after years of college and teaching, I felt a need to do something more substantial, more concrete. I actually wanted to apply some my ideas, wanted to see some real results of my actions. In other words, it wasn’t enough to teach abstract ideas to students and then see them disappear into the years, seldom to be heard from ever again. While the INTP in me still loves learning new things, more and more I’ve spent time learning how to do real things, how to grow my own food, build my own furniture, create my own art.

By this time I realized a vehicle was a tool not a status symbol, and you judged a tool by how well it performed its function, not merely by how it looked, how expensive it was, or how much other people admired it.