Tuesday, June 10, 2008
It has been in my possession for the second shortest period of time of any vehicle I have ever owned.
In just over two short years it traveled almost 100,000 miles. In its life it came just shy of 5,000 miles short of 300,000 miles. It carried tech gear, wardrobe, grip gear, numerous lunches, contestant luggage, garbage, my room full of free stuff from Craigslist including the 50" TV, and all my worldly possessions.
It bares the scars from carports, gas pump retaining polls, a fence, and even a Ford Ranger. I have slept in it when I was too tired to drive. I camped in Sausalito in it when I was too poor to drive home. I have taken it deep into California's redwood forests. It has kept me company through the night. It has been the background to a national advertising campaign. It has been a slight bump in my rate, and the reason I've been hired more than once.
I have resisted it. I have cursed it. I have complained about it. I named it after another object. I have threatened it. I have not shown it a fraction of the patience that its more temperamental sister has enjoyed.
It's had the power steering pump, the water pump, the fuel injectors, the thermostat, and radiator hoses replaced (all parts that the older air-cooled bus doesn't have). Ultimately, the transmission has gone out, and that will cost as much as the van is worth to replace. It is time to once again be a one van man.
I never rigged it with deep cycle batteries to support productions. I never replaced the grill with a South African style double headlight. I never put the peace symbol in place of the VW symbol. I never replaced the drive train with a diesel engine to run it on waste vegetable oil. I never converted it into my quested for inappropriate low rider. And finally, I never really gave it the respect that it earned.
It won't have the stories of what it was, like the old Chevy Malibu Classic that would smash through the abandoned mobile home park or would fit 8 of my closest friends. It won't have the stories of struggle and 'could have been' of the Porsche 914. It never had a day where my friends piled in to go from thrift store to thrift store looking for 8mm cameras, or going to Walnut Creek to play in the Battletech simulators. It will just be what it was, the work horse that shouldered me up from my college graduation to my post college life.
It was unremarkable, undramatic, unstoried, unloved. And now, after having handed over its keys completing my unbeaten streak of being the last owner of every vehicle I've had, I finally, if belatedly, salute it. I can only hope that its individual bits allow other workhorses to soldier on and get the love you deserve.
Farewell, my mule. Rest in peace, you've earned it.