I was feeling a tinge of separation anxiety as I drove to work yesterday morning. I backed the little grey Mazda out of the garage for the last time, five pounds lighter than usual because I’d cleaned out the glove box and under the seats, years of accumulated paper bits and dried up pens and apparently about three hundred business cards for a job, position, and company that no longer exist.
We got “the call” on Monday: bring your money soon or the truck gets it!
Actually, it was more of a game of polite telephone tag, setting up appointments and exchanging emails about VIN numbers and coordinating a tour of the Toyota service facility. As a side note, if you ever went to meet and shake hands with nearly everyone at a car dealership, buy a car and then show up fifteen minutes before your appointment.
I handed the keys to the Mazda to the sales guy and he disappeared to transfer the plate for me. At that moment I was no longer the driver of a sporty little hatchback. Farewell little grey car.
[Insert boring transaction details here.]
Two new shiny sets of keys later and a walk-around of the gleaming black truck, I hopped into the driver’s seat, adjusted the wheel and mirrors, and cranked it to life.
And then we were off. Or at least I was.
Karin had her own car, so I was left on my own in a brand new truck to pull out of the dealer parking lot into the thick of not only rush hour traffic on Calgary Trail, but into the middle of a mid-road construction project. Every vehicle is a little different, and I always figure it’s nice to have twenty minutes to get used to how the gear box shifts, the feel of the clutch and how the mirrors are catching the bustling traffic flow scattered around you. I had twenty seconds. Twenty-seconds, wherein I drove into thick and unforgiving traffic in a vehicle with barely a dozen kilometers on the odometer and which five minutes earlier the sales guy was buffing with a microfiber rag.
[Insert short but hectic, white-knuckle drive here.]
Actually, it brought back shades of Germany. In Berlin we’d rented an Opal Vectra from the airport. It was a six-speed manual (like the new truck) and had the standard six-speed manual gearing layout (like the new truck) of which I was grossly unfamiliar with. I haven’t driven a six-speed manual since 2006. It’s not terribly different from a five-speed, but the ratios will need some time for normalizing between my brain and my foot, and also it took me a couple minutes to find reverse the first time. In Berlin, I had about fifteen minutes of modest practice in the rental before we pulled out onto the Autobahn and cranked the Vectra up to 160 kph for the next six hours through the German countryside. The rush-hour-construction meets new vehicle combo echoed that feeling, at least for the brief drive over to the registries office.
Then it was done. Truck = ours. All the little bits of paperwork and exchanges of numbers and currencies and putting stickers on things in the right places. Done.
We picked up Claire. Went for a drive. Came home and ate, then went for another drive. I think I backed it in and out of the garage a half-dozen times before I packed it in for the night.
For now, it’s still something of a post-hatch dreamworld wonderland drizzling in the vague endorphin rush that accompanies both spending a lot of money and having a shiny new toy. In a few days it will be trips to the Eco-Station and loading up the bikes and packing it up for a camping trip. That’s the part I’m really looking forward to (at least the bikes and the camping bit) but I’ll take the new vehicle glow for a few days, too.