Tuesday, August 6, 2019

A Quick Ode to My Truck

The Legend

Alright blog. It’s been a while, I know. Clearly I don’t spend time pushing words around the computer screen like I used to. I prioritize other things now, and my lifestyle has changed a lot since 2012. I no longer race bicycles for a living, which means I’m no longer graced with a never-ending parade of amusing cycling-based stories to share. More impactfully, I’m no longer graced with the huge swaths of time required to carefully (and often not so carefully) whittle and polish my experiences into blog-sized pieces of writing. I’m not a fast writer, but it’s a free activity — the words in this blog clearly capture a period of my life where I had more time than money. 

And yet, here I am, bloggin’ away! Why? What occasion might inspire me to dust off my fingers, you might ask? Well, something took place recently that I feel is best processed (both personally and cosmically) through a few words on the ol’ Gliderbison blog. Dear readers, I have some bittersweet news. 

It’s time, at long last, to say goodbye to a most cherished presence here at the Gliderbsion Blog: my trusty 1990 Nissan Pickup. That’s right, I’m selling the Gliderbison itself. Few people know that my truck and this blog shared a name, but it’s true. Like the eternal question of the chicken and the egg, nobody knows who’s named after who. 

In an effort to do justice to the cumulative contribution this lovable hunk of junk has made to my life, please allow me the indulgence of stringing together a few words, for old time’s sake.

If my life towards the end of college was a primordial soup, just an unsorted mix of raw materials and potential energy, this truck served as the lightning bolt that gave birth to a strange new life-form (or more accurately, a form of life): that of a vagabond bicycle racer. A huge percentage of the trials and triumphs captured in this blog wouldn’t have been possible without my truck. It gave me freedom and independence, both spatially and financially. It allowed me to criss-cross the Pacific Northwest at will, gallivanting from race to race, from festival to festivity, like a drunken tailor stitching a mighty buttonhole. It was reliable and cheap, allowing me to chase my cycling dreams for years while averaging an income well below the poverty line. Most of all, my truck filled my life with character, and in many ways became part of my identity, serving as both comic relief and trusty sidekick for most of the last fourteen years. For all that time the interior and exterior steadily degraded to the point where the vehicle more resembled a rotting haystack made of roofing shingles and cabbage. All of the original paint had rusted off or been covered up with random scrap vinyl decals, and every plastic piece found on the vehicle had broken or flaked into dust -- but the thing ran beautifully, roaring into life with the flick of the key (or the fork, or cotter pin, or...).

My truck made many appearances here on this blog, at times featured, while times simply acting as an extra in the background. Here are a few classic posts, featuring the ol’ bucket of bolts:

In the years following my cycling (and blogging) days, the Gliderbison has been hard at work as the primary workhorse for the Colossal Collective. Since 2012, it’s helped me cart both puppets and puppeteers to dozens of festivals. It made it to Burning Man (and back!) six times, most recently surviving a trip down the dreaded Jungo road (and only losing a small chunk of the tail-pipe along the way). 

In case you’re wondering the Gliderbison’s fate, NO, I didn’t roll it off a cliff into a reservoir. In fact, I sold it to a friend (for actual American dollars). It’s in good hands, and its new owner is taking great care of it, giving it a fresh coat of primer, and replacing a few of the cracked tail-lights. I have no doubt that 1,000 years from now, when everyone I know and love is long dead and forgotten (or long since merged into the hive mind), the Gliderbison will still be trundling across the northwest like a post apocalyptic tumbleweed, unphased by the passing of time. 

Thanks Gliderbison -- you shall be missed. 

Gliderbison, hauling a giant puppet across Oregon


Unknown said...

In an attempt to track you down for Sante Fe adventure and food advice, I followed a FB link to this Ode! How wonderful. I remember the shocking driveway revival! I also have gliderbison (and you and your mom) to thank for that still-lovely pottery that couldn't securely fit in your move. What meaning and memories our trusty old cars hold!-tara

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