The Short But Happy Life of Talia


   I was rear-ended the other day. Luckily, no one was badly injured; however, the 8 month pregnant girl who hit me was of concern. Paramedics who came to the scene established that she had no urgent medical needs and left her to go home with her sister who picked her up. She complained of low back pain and was recommended to go to the ER if her symptoms did not ease. Her boyfriend, and passenger, complained of minor whiplash symptoms but seemed okay. As I helped him load their groceries into the sister’s car to go home, he informed me of his release from jail that morning – 6 months. Shitty way to re-enter the world but again, thank goodness no one was hurt.

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Poor Little Thing. Note: The apparent minor damage that was in fact not so minor.

 I was fine, although a bit rattled. The kind of thing where for a split second you have no idea what’s happened. Like you just woke up from a weird dream and you haven’t had time to process what your brain was imagining. But, this wasn’t a dream. Luckily, I could drive the car. And luckily, the other driver had insurance. And again, no one was injured, everyone left the scene on their own.

 But, sadly, my truck wasn’t okay. At first glance it appeared to be mainly cosmetic damage. “Oh ya…new fender here…new bumper here…you’ll need a new tail gate…we’ll get it nice and patched up for ya.” the guy at the collision repair shop gently assuaged my concern for the truck.

  Well, after taking a look under all the superficial damage, they decided the truck was mortally wounded, from an economic point-of-view. They totaled it out. Bummer for me, I had almost payed it off and really liked the little gal.

 So, in tribute, I decided to do the cheesy thing and began remembering and writing short anecdotes from my time with the truck. I also, posthumously, and for the purposes of story-telling, gave it a name. A woman’s name. Talia.

  Disclaimer: I was not going to name it, especially after the fact, but decided to just now. Also, I am not an anthropomorphizing, drooling, car maniac. My purpose in this exercise is to write out some of the events of the past four years of my life – many of which directly or indirectly involved the truck. I decided this “homage” would be a fun format to jot out some of my experiences. Enjoy these short stories. 


From Internet to Real Life – The First Time We Met  

“Thanks for the ride, Todd”, lifting myself from the passenger side door of his jeep.

  “Ya, not a problem, Danny. Let me know how it goes and if it doesn’t work out I can pick you up.” Todd looked over the rims of his dark glasses as I stepped onto the pavement and into the hot desert sun.

  As I stood squinting in the bright sun under the 7 – Eleven sign, I craned my neck up and down the street watching for him. I bit my lip and played my fingers around the edges of my pants pockets and looked around anxiously…pacing.

  I wasn’t sure if he’d show. I was in my head. It looked good online. He sounded nice. He had a latin accent. Sounded Mexican.

  I watched from the shade of the gas pump pavilion while drivers eyed me suspiciously. My mind was starting to go over all the possibilities. Then, all of a sudden, I saw. Pulling in the lot from Power Rd. I eagerly made for the parking space he pulled into.

  “Hello, you are Danny?” His sharp Mexican accent inquired.

  “Yes, its me”, thank you for meeting me here.

  “Well, you like what you see, want to give it a closer look?”

  “Yeah, I do, let’s look it over.”

  There it was, silver glinting in the sun, bubbly front bumper with the soft eyes for headlights. Michelin road tires, deep tread. Matching sliver camper shell with locking handles. Perfect for sleeping and carrying gear while on the road.

  Inside the cab, the manual transmission stick nestled nicely between the dash and middle of the bench seat. The CD player lights lit up the console and the orange glow of the speedometer and other instruments illuminated the panel behind the steering wheel. Hanging from the rear view mirror a “New Car” scented air freshener.

  “You like to listen to music?” he began to adjust the volume controls.

  “Yeah”

  “I installed a speaker box with a ten inch sub. I like to crank it up on my way home from work”. He blasted the Mariachi music he had in the CD player as I began to cruise out of the parking lot on a test drive.

  As I turned onto the road and made for the stop light ahead, Mexican singers, guitar sounds, and blasting trumpets emanated from the open window as pedestrians turned and looked from the curb. I tested the sensitivity of the clutch with my foot as I accelerated from the intersection. Not a speed demon, only 4 cylinders, but I was OK. It was the fuel economy I was looking for in this truck.

  I made a couple more turns around the block and pulled back into the 7 – Eleven lot. As I turned the motor off, the Mariachi music abruptly stopped and we stepped back onto the hot black pavement of the lot.

  “Well, you like it, don’t you?” He asked.

  “I do, I like the price, I like the mileage, I like the camper shell you have for it. I’ll take it!”

  That was it, the little silver Toyota Tacoma would be my traveling companion for some time. When tired, I could stop over any place and retire in back. Make my bed, have a drink, read a book. She would get me around and play my favorite music for me out of gratuitously large speakers. Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, NPR, maybe Britney Spears once or twice… But mostly Grateful Dead.

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