The other day, I opened up a letter from my friendly Ford Credit folks and angels flew out of the envelope. They immediately struck out trumpets to announce the words I had long dreamed:
"Thank you for financing with us. This notice is to inform you that the FINAL PAYMENT of your Retail Installment Contract is due."
That's right, that handsome 4WD silver devil is now entirely mine. No more monthly payments and the timing could not be better. Until I get a job, I'm trying to live lean.
While I know plenty of people that buy and sell things like cars, houses, boats and whatnot without much flinching - the thought makes me dizzy with dread. I am notably squeamish when it comes to long-term-financing. The purchase of this Ford Ranger back in May 2004 practically gave me hives.
Up until that point, I had been driving Alice, a legendary 'machine' that is still famous in certain circles. (She will get her own blog post as soon as I find her photo album.) Not unlike a vet with a weepy pet owner, two very kind and gentle garage guys had to sit me down and gently explain that I needed to start thinking about my next car. "The thing is, Alice just can't breath anymore," said Gus. "You can't keep putting money in this thing-er, I mean, her."
I tried to donate Alice to a worthy cause but she was rejected. Then, while I was in DC attending the funeral of a friend, someone in my shi-shi San Francisco neighborhood had her impounded. (They were always doing stuff like that. They once tied bags of dog shit to her side mirrors. Fucking snobs.)
So, I grabbed my dad for guidance and protection and we went car shopping. When I flew open those nifty suicide doors, I suspected I'd found The One. When I noted the truck's locking bed cover, my search was over.
Friends asked if I had a name for the new truck but I was determined not to get attached. It is higher and heavier than Alice and it took some getting used to. Also, the truck has an automatic shift so I missed the delightful engine intimacy of gear shifting. The first couple of years, it just felt like I was weenie-driving this giant monster truck; I felt like a nimrod.
Yes, we were slow to bond but after driving it cross-country for my Colorado move and then experiencing the Denver blizzards of '06 together, my respect for the machine grew expotentially. Then there was the time last summer when it carried Gins and I up and down 'roads' that would have made treacherous pedestrian paths. There's just no way we would have reached a certain mountain top yurt in Eagle without Jack's astounding bad-assedness.
Hmmmm ..... Jack .... Jack? I like it.