Two tons of steel vibrate between my legs as I barrel down the tree–lined passage. I am taller, louder, bigger, faster and meaner than anything this place has ever seen. When I jerk the shift back, the roar strikes fear in small furry creatures, Hyundai owners and Manhattanite weekenders. This is it, this is what my five years in Upstate New York have culminated into: gone is that fashion–shoed, eye–lined, dressed–in–black, East Villager hipper–than–thou Queen of the Underground.
I am now a crotch grabbing macho man; a stubble–cheeked, pale–haired, skull–and–tattooed rural boy; a swarthy biker; an ornery farmer. I swill pale, American beer, ruin the tweeters while playing cock rock and terrorize two–seater foreign cars driven by midlife crisis men with aftershave and 100 dollar belts.
And this is no ordinary truck—this is a friggin’ GMC truck, man. God–fearing American folk with Bush stickers drive by and think I’m their friend and wonder why I don’t have tiny American flags on each corner of my rig. Midriff–bearing girls strut by, then pout when they see it’s only a chick behind this testosterone–pumped, four-wheel drive, axle–greased, oil–slicked, fuel–injected, million–cylindered bitch, errr, dick magnet.
Yeah, man, I’m Queen of the Road and the other drivers will never have to know that I’m really just a five–foot–one, quasi artist/poet type. I don’t listen to suburban rock; I listen to thin, angst–filled, skinny sensitive musicians from foreign countries whine about their paltry existence, I listen to 1950s be–bop jazz, I listen to symphonies by centuries–dead Europeans. They’ll never know that I practically need phonebooks to see out the dashboard, and that tomorrow I’ll have to return this iron–and–steel lover, this auto–endorphin, adrenaline–pumped, hubba–hubba hubcapped shiny, pulsating, humming machine and pick up my nice, safe Subaru from the mechanic.
So tonight I celebrate all that I have learned in this serendipitous rental experience, this long overdue enhancement of my country life, this temporary pick–me–up of a pickup. I learned that driving a new truck is like being a sixteen–year–old boy who just got his license. It’s like sex after swimming under a full moon while the first breeze of the hot summer night tickles your sticky, salty skin. Like leaving your boring desk job for the last time as you prepare for a year–long trek into the Mongolian desert. Like growing taller than all the people that ever intimidated you. Like finally realizing that you don’t have to be male to have balls.
Dina Pearlman is an artist and a writer living in upstate New York. Her work can be seen at http://www.dinapearlman.com