Two topics only

2008 October 24
by Stace

Unlike Hedon, I don’t think the old truck stole my mojo. I haven’t had anything to write because I’ve only been thinking of two things: the new truck and the video game I’m currently playing. I figured everyone had heard enough about our truck woes, and as for the video game, you’re not playing it, so what the hell do you care if I’m endlessly building stats to fight the hoard of giant orks on level 32, or wondering how I’m going to afford that six-foot-long, kick-ass sword at the armory?

So I was telling myself, think of something, anything, that doesn’t involve trucks or video games. I got nothing. And then I realized, why the hell was I thinking about you? This blog is supposed to be my journal for myself when I am sixty-something. I tell ya, it’s easy to get distracted from a purpose, even if you don’t have the interference of three squabbling alter egos like Hedon. (Note to Hedon: okay, fine, they’re not alter egos; you are not crazy; I will not call you Sybil no matter how tempted I am; and yes, I will just call them witty personifications of your competing impulses, when you’re listening, at any rate).

Where was I? Oh yeah, this post is going to be mostly about the new truck because I’m pretty sure my sixty-something self will be interested in it. If you’ve heard enough about the new truck, though, you’ll want to skip it.

The new truck is driving me nuts. Everything is different, and I’ve decided I’ve now reached the age where the simple fact of “different” annoys the hell out of me. I may be prematurely 80.

It’s not like the old truck was perfect. It had recently developed some sort of leak from god knows where, that smelled exactly like what I imagine the odor of the pits of hell to be. For the most part, the smell was outside, but when it came inside, it felt like invisible death.

The new truck doesn’t stink. It has that perky, new-vehicle, plastic-y smell that should make me happy. I guess it sort of makes me happy, when I notice it.

The old truck was getting older and was developing plenty of rattles and the like. But I was used to the sounds it made.

The new truck is all tight with nary a rattle on even the shittiest New Jersey road. All I can think, though, is that the trash bag hanging on the passenger seat is constantly making that crinkly plastic sound. I never noticed it in the old truck, what with all the other noises that overwhelmed it.

The carpet on the floor of the old truck was rubbed bare in spots. Pretty ugly, really, when you got to looking at it. Cleaning it made little difference in how it looked.

There is no carpet on the floor of the new truck. It’s all spotless vinyl, which means I feel the need to keep cleaning it when dirt starts to show itself, which is about 10 times a day. There’s NOTHING that irritates me more than cleaning.

The engine brake on the old truck was pretty lousy. If you had a load over 25,000 pounds, the jakes weren’t of much help in slowing you down. We used to have to crawl down Cabbage Hill at about 30 mph to get the truck in a low enough gear that the jakes would hold it back. Had to go even slower if the load was heavy.

The new truck has these super-powerful disk brakes and a mighty, mighty engine brake with three settings. I’d guess that on medium setting, it has the same power as the high setting on the old truck. One might think powerful jakes is a great thing. I would have thought it, myself. But there’s a problem (of course). You can’t turn the damned things off! I’m serious. If you turn it on, the engine brake engages whenever you stop giving it fuel or whenever you touch the brakes; in other words, it acts normally. If you turn it off, the engine brake does not engage when you stop giving it fuel (as is normal), but it still engages when you touch the brakes — all the way down until you’ve decelerated to 25 mph! WTF?! How overboard can you get? It nearly pitches you off the bunk. And this means that regardless of the road conditions, I can’t turn off the engine brake! I’m pretty sure we’ve all been warned a million times not to use the engine brake in challenging weather conditions. Also, what am I supposed to do when I’m in one of the thousands of communities with local ordinances against using engine brakes? I haven’t gotten any answers yet from They Who Must Not Be Named, but I’m not done trying. Someone, somewhere, must know something about this new truck. I hate hate hate the jake situation.

Oh, I forgot. The brake lights come on when you use the engine brake. This means that when descending a grade and using the jakes to control our speed, we’ll look like some kind of dangerous brake rider begging for our brakes to catch on fire. Geesh.

The old truck made that maddening tick-tick sound whenever you turned on the blinkers or flashers. Both Hedon and I despised this.

The new truck doesn’t make any sound when you turn on the blinkers or flashers. Hurrah! However, it makes a cursed bing-bing chime whenever someone gets out of the truck and doesn’t get the door shut all the way, which happens all the time because it’s new and stiff and hard to get shut all the way without serious slamming. Argh! The bing bing bing bing bing bing bing!

The hinges and closures on the cabinets in the old truck were over-engineered and prone to breaking.

The hinges and closures on the cabinets in the new truck are under-engineered and prone to breaking. Had the truck less than a week and one is already broken (cheap plastic clasps). Anyway, at least I’m used to it.

The old truck didn’t have a ton of insulation, so you could hear plenty of the exterior noises. Still, it wasn’t too bad and was actually pretty quiet when rolling (in regards to road noise, not rattling noise as written above).

Manufacturer propaganda for the new truck states that they worked very hard to lessen the noise inside the truck. They blab on and on about the insulation, etc. They claim that it’s so quiet in here, you can hear a pin drop. Umm-hmm. You could hear a pin drop, if that pin were attached to say, an anvil.

There are probably a dozen more annoyances that aren’t coming to me right now. I know that eventually many of these frustrations will wear away as I become accustomed to the truck (but not the jake problem). I will adjust. It’s just going to be painful. We drove our old truck for nearly a year and a half, twice as long as any other truck we’ve had. We really knew that truck. And when we were looked upon by the old timers as serious losers for working for They Who Must Not Be Named, we could say, “Yeah, but look at what we’re driving. Heh heh.” Now all we can do is go, “Yeah, we’re big losers.”

My whininess level has already started to exasperate me, so that’s a good sign. I’m even getting better at climbing into the upper bunk, considerably lessening the dangers posed to the health and well-being of everyone in the truck.

Maybe writing about it will help me get past this (okay, I doubt this, since Hedon and I have been having endless conversations about the pros and cons of this truck since we stepped in it). Who knows? I know I’m tired of writing about it now. But that’s just for now. I reserve the right to come back at any later time and bitch about the new truck as long and as loudly as I want. My sixty-something self must know the truth!

Okay, so time to get back to my game. There’s a nasty infestation of wraiths on level 25 who may or may not have called me a pussy when I peaked into the dungeon door. I’ve got some ghost-whoopin to do.

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