Transportation Transformation

Blog No. 138

If a writer is the product of his (I mean me) environment and his stories are the product of him (still me) then the things that happen in his life are important to his writing, no matter how small. I’m not saying I’m some important author who has to have his life analyzed so people can root out the smallest hidden messages in his works, but life happens and it all influences what I do. Also, I have yet to meet an author who doesn’t go to her own life for material. On top of that, what happens in our life affects how we write (or if we do at all). I’ve had one of those events that has altered the way I write (meaning stuff has happened and I haven’t gotten a lot of work done). I could have been more forward, but wasn’t that pseudo intellectual stuff fun?

Last week I got a new vehicle. To those who know me well, that’s a big deal. It’s big because I am someone who identifies as a car guy (as in I like cars and can change my own oil) so any new car is important to me, and because the car I’m giving up has been my favourite one I’ve owned. The new car is a truck (a Ford Ranger with low mileage) any the one I’m selling is my beloved Mazda Miata. I was looking for a Ranger when the opportunity for the Miata fell into my lap. I’ve always liked the truck (and I was the only guy in my family to not have one at some point). It’s an eminently practical vehicle (minus the slightly heightened fuel consumption), good to drive, easy to maintain, and more importantly, it’s fun. But the Miata is a special car. Giving it up is not something I do easily.

For anyone who couldn’t care less about cars, none of this would be very interesting. To them, the Ranger is likely a useless behemoth (small for a truck is a strange thing these days) and the Miata could be seen as cute. For many people who are into cars, the Ranger is a tiny F150 for people who can’t commit, and the Miata is car for gay people. I can’t (or won’t bother) changing anyone’s minds, but for those who go beyond labels (or those who read Jalopnik), the Ranger is a small, practical pickup that people actually want (why won’t Ford sell it to them?) and the Miata is a fun, economical, mechanically sound roadster that has been top of its class since its inception.

I have a hard time identifying as a “car guy”. I like cars, I grew up with a father who worked for Ford and did basic maintenance himself (teaching it all to us along the way). Eating in the cars was sacrilegious and kicking your boots against the side to knock off the snow was tantamount to kicking him personally. Those traits and (some of) the standards (I just can’t seem to keep my cars as clean). Like I said, I can change my own oil, change a tire, perform basic (very) diagnostics and repairs. I know how cars work, I’m interested in how the technology is changing, and I actively enjoy driving. Though, I’ve never owned a muscle car, or an Alfa. I don’t have my own workshop or lift. I’ve never been in a real race. I like cars and I feel like I’m a good driver, so I think that’s enough.

To me, the Ranger is a good vehicle that I will get a lot of use out of. It has a bulletproof design and with regular maintenance, should be problem free (if I’m lucky). It was a great deal that I just couldn’t pass up. The Miata is less of a car that you drive and more of a car you join. Mazda uses the term Jinba ittai. It originally was about the horse and rider as one, but Mazda adopted it for the Miata. It’s a little car without a ton of power, but it drives like it can read your mind, holds in the corners long after it should and (more than anything I’ve driven) is fun. I’m going to miss it, but I’m excited for the adventures I’m going to have in my truck. Now I just have to sell the Miata and get back to writing.

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