Thursday, October 9, 2014

On Pick-Up Trucks & Personal Growth

I was on my way to get my haircut today, sitting beside a duly pick-up truck and behind another at a red light. They were so loud, one taking up his share of both lanes, that I could hear them inside the car with the radio on and windows up. My usual angry ire at the irresponsibility of people who drive trucks crept up, my inner dialogue grumbling about the environment and how these people think the road belongs solely to them.

This isn't a new problem, mind you. I have a serious problem with people who buy large pick-up trucks when they don't need them. Meaning, they're not using them as farm vehicles, not towing anything, clearly not a work truck. People who buy the biggest most irresponsible vehicles they can afford--or in the case of this tiny college town, their daddy's can afford--to inflate their egos. They make me mad.

I care about the environment, but more than that I care about the use of resources. These monsters use more resources than do small trucks, crossovers, SUVs, and coupes. But, honestly, my biggest problem comes down to courtesy. If your vehicle is so big you don't fit on the road or in parking spaces, that doesn't give you the right to take up more than your share of public space. But, the people who drive these vehicles (at least here in Texas) do. Driving a larger vehicle doesn't give you the right to bully you way into the other lane, or cut people off, or pull out into traffic where you don't belong or shouldn't be.

I have a big ol' problem with trucks. So much so that I feel like people who want one should have to show need (yes, I'm aware that will never ever happen).

Then something struck me and I literally laughed out loud like a maniac--thank God I was alone. The guy in the pickup beside me grinned at me and winked (he actually winked at me like a creeper) and I was dragged back to a time when I was less socially and environmentally conscious, when I was much more selfish. I actually used to find men who drove these irresponsible monsters attractive. As a matter of fact, I was more likely to find a man attractive if he drove a pick-up.

At 18, when I was young and lacked any reasonable common sense, I worked with a man who drove a big blue Chevy pick-up. One of the things I found attractive about him was that he drove this blue truck and that he was so protective of it--in the several years we were acquainted, he actually let me drive it once. It was absolutely absurd and when I think back now I laugh, but not because it's funny. Because I feel like I was as much a jerk about these stupid trucks as the guys around town who take up two spaces at Wal-Mart and ding your car doors with theirs because they're careless.

It's pretty amazing how these sorts of things can creep up on you. How one little thing--a sight, a scent--can drag you back (sometimes mentally kicking and screaming). It's also pretty humbling when it happens, at least to me, to see how far I've come since then. In this case it's the idea that I've grown, or at least changed, as a person. In the 18 years since I met the guy with the blue Chevy, I've become less insensitive, less selfish, and more aware of those who are. Change happens so gradually that sometimes it takes something silly like this to make you see it.

Does that mean I don't like all people who drive trucks? Not necessarily--I know plenty of people who drive pick-ups, but most of them need them for work or towing. I'd say, instead, that I'm less inclined to be friendly with people who're careless enough to need one of these ego-inflating, resource-guzzling hunks of glass and steel. At least I know now why I feel the way I do--the environment, resources, noise, and a lack of regard for publicly shared spaces. Years ago, when I was attracted to these things, there was no quantifiable reason. If nothing else, that's growth.