Her Personal Truck


‘From zero driving to truck driving in no time flat’

Back in the early 80s I dated this guy who also worked in the New York City Ad Biz — he was a producer; I was a copywriter — but he, unlike me, owned a vehicle. This was (and still is) somewhat unusual for a New Yorker.

The few New Yorkers who own cars are all out here

Anyway, this guy was really cool. Still is, I imagine. He was so cool that he not only owned a vehicle, he owned a truck. This was so unusual — and, to me, so cool — that I dubbed this vehicle — I don’t remember the make but it was white — his Personal Truck. As in, “Oh, do we get to go wash your Personal Truck?”

Yup, that’s me. During my ride-around-in-the-Personal-Truck period

I say “go wash” because Cool Guy did not keep his Personal Truck in the City. He kept it at his childhood home in New Jersey. We would hop on the train, pick it up (well, it was a pickup truck, after all), wash it (this was back when you could ride through a car wash, which I enjoyed immensely) and then he would drive it around while I made those swoopy hand-fish motions out the window and felt the wind in my hair.

Please forgive this long meander down Memory Lane. It was inspired by the fact that The Child — yes, that Child — just bought a truck. A F350 pickup, in fact. (You can admire it in the photo at the top of this post.) Which makes my Personal Child only the second New Yorker I’ve ever known to own a Personal Truck.

That’s a diploma she’s clutching, not a driver’s license

What’s truly amazing about this truck-buying is that, until recently, The Child has shown absolutely no interest in driving, much less vehicle ownership. And the fact that her very first vehicle is a truck is, well, to say that I am gobsmacked is putting it mildly.

You gotta crawl before you can walk. But I guess you don’t need to own a car before you own a truck

This truck is, apparently, such a gonzo vehicle that an excited male cousin appeared over his Dad’s shoulder during our weekly Henry Family FaceTime to pipe up with, “Hey! About that truck. We have questions!

Well, so did I, Cousin Joe. So did I.

Turns out that she, The Child, being a Worker in Tech, can perform her job-related duties from, basically, anywhere. So she and her BF (with a similar do-from-anywhere-type job) decided to give up their Boston rental and, well, take off. They’re gonna hit the road and live pretty much wherever they want. (Ideas include Montana in the summer and Arizona in the winter.)

Here they were, driving in Alaska. Well, BF was driving in Alaska

Again. I cannot stress enough how surprising this is. We are talking about a person who had to be forced to take driving lessons. She: “But I live in New York and take public transportation. I don’t need to drive.” Us: “Driving is a Life Skill. Besides, you might not always live in New York.” She: “You don’t need to drive in Boston or even San Francisco! And where else would I live?”

She jumps out of airplanes (on purpose). But does she drive?

She wins alumni awards. But does she drive?

She scuba dives — in Iceland — but does she drive?

She finally did get her driver’s license. After taking the course — and the test — twice. But I’m guessing that she’s logged (and I’m being charitable here) maybe 100 hours of driving in the ten years since she got it. Incidentally, she did drive on that trip to Iceland. But the door of the rental car blew off in a gale, which kind of put a chill on driving for a while.

I don’t know what happened. At one time, she enjoyed driving

But during the last couple of years, now that I think about it, she has indeed done a bit of driving. For one thing, she went to Hawaii by herself to attend Laird Hamilton’s fitness camp. (She must have gotten her taste for pickup trucks on that trip; she rented one which famously got a flat tire outside a fire station. The Fire Guys — of course — insisted on changing it for her.)

So now she’s the proud owner of a 2019 F350. (She saved a chunk of change getting last year’s model. Girl does her research.) We’ll get to meet this truck in a few weeks. She and the BF are driving it down to store some belongings in the attic while they pursue their itinerant lifestyle. (We just cleaned out that attic, but who can resist The Child?)

Ridding the attic of things like this: the World’s Ugliest Vase

I have to admit, now that I’ve gotten over the shock of The Child not only driving but owning a truck — and not only owning a truck but planning to basically, travel the country in it with no fixed address — well, I’m pretty darned proud.

Now let’s see if she can handle the Honda.

She can drive an F350, but can she drive our ’91 Honda (which, yes, we still have)? Three guesses. Hint: It has a stick shift

Amagansett, New York. July 2020

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6 thoughts on “Her Personal Truck

  1. I’d say the Child has adventurous blood coursing through her veins, pumped in there from both parents! And here I thought New Yorkers never wanted to leave the city. After reading your blog for a while, I can see that there might be some exceptions to this “rule”, possibly more than just you and the Dude.

    Ironically, I just found out that one of my good friends from college, Brooklyn born and bred and also a non driver for a good part of the time she lived in L.A.. just moved to Boston. In her message informing me of this big move, following a surprise divorce in which situation I will be joining her shortly, she informed me that she always knew she was an east coast girl at heart. I naturally had to respond that I guess (and my about to be ex may have known) that I am a west coast girl at heart. At least the twain meet occasionally, and may again somewhere in the middle.

    • Oh. My. First, let me respond to your message within a message: “surprise divorce”? Oh, my dear. I certainly hope that you were the surpriser rather than the surprised — or, even if it were the other way around, that you are well and happy. As a previously-divorced person myself (tho, oh these many years ago) I can attest that it’s nothing to take lightly — even when you’re 22. I wish you nothing but strength. Anyway. I digress. Whether you are “east coast” or “west coast”, I’m thinkin’ you’re the “best coast.” Stay in touch, dear friend. My best thoughts go out to you.

  2. That truck is for-real! My dad hauls a boat behind his and a lot of other stuff and never went as major as a 350 (though he was a Ford guy for a long time). Well, greetings from the land of domestic cars, on vacation in Ohio. Thanks for the fun post!

    • Hey Becca — So glad to get a rave review on the truck! I didn’t want to go on too many tangents in the post (other than the old BF one) — but my Mom’s side of the family was all Ford, all the time. My Grampa P had a lovely red Ford pickup that I remember fondly. Wish I could hop in it right now!

    • They’re planning to get some sort of way-cool pop-top or even a towable living quarters setup. Though I would like to see them just, you know, throw a sleeping bag back there. Or maybe a rocker, Joad-style (!)

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