It was 10 years ago today that we found each other. About six weeks earlier on my birthday in 1997 I’d totaled my previous ride pretty spectacularly, and in that trying period of carlessness I kick-started my appreciation for commuting by bike and mass transit while scouring the automobile classifieds in hopes of finding a new four-wheeled friend.

I don’t think I ever told my Nissan Truck this, but she wasn’t my first choice. A couple days before we met I’d spent the day biking across the valley to various dealerships from Woodland Hills to Glendale and though I tested a variety of quater-ton pick-ups including Nissan’s I’d pretty much had my heart set on a regular-cab Ford Ranger and the best price proved to be at Vista Ford.

But when I returned there to ink the deal that would put me in debt that would allow me to bring that truck home, the previously amenable salesman for reasons known only to him decided he didn’t want to sell that truck to me that day. See, after I was done with my bike-based research mission, I called him back and told him he had a deal — on the condition that he could shave a token few hundred dollars off the $15,000 sticker price. He said there shouldn’t be a problem with that and we set up an appointment time to meet ten years ago today. Upon arriving (with my mom in her car) it was like I was talking to the salesman’s evil twin. He didn’t recall any such reduction agreement and was adamant that he wasn’t going to budge from the sticker.  I was incredulous in asking him why he’d rather lose an entire sale than even a token reduction of a couple hundred bucks and he wouldn’t elaborate. So I left and in my distaste at getting such a jerk-around I crossed Ford off my list — for life, because yes I hold a grudge against bullshit like that.

Ironically I wound up writing a letter to Vista’s sales manager thanking them for not selling me a Ranger. With Ford off the table, Nissan ascended to my first choice and mom and I drove out to its Simi Valley dealership to be pleasantly surprised in finding an Independence Day weekend-only special $3,000 cash-back offer going on for their King Cab model. Trouble was with a deal like that the Simi Valley dealer had pretty much exhausted its supply down to a couple left that were odd colors, so it was off across the valley again to Glendale Nissan, where they had a shiny new white one and the same deal and a few hours later I was the proud owner of it for about $2000 less than I would’ve paid at Vista so their obstinance was actually for my benefit. Thus the sarcasmic letter of “appreciation” to them for their saint-like stubborn unwillingness to sell me less truck for more buck.

Back here at the present I couldn’t have asked for more durable and dependable and practical wheels. I gave her a new coat of paint a couple years ago, changing her from her original white to a metallic gray courtesy of Earl Scheib. And other than a couple batteries and sets of tires and the occasional odd repair job like an A/C leak and a loose timing chain, the only complaints I’ve had about her have been some of the odd recurring sounds she makes. There’s the buzzrattle near the floorboards that I’d get fixed only to have it return and get whatever was loose tightened down again. I’m waiting for that one to come back like the whistle squeek from somewhere under the bed that’s returned with a vengeance a couple years after my mechanic located and silenced it.

The only reason I haven’t taken it back in for a re-quelling is because I drive the truck so damn little these days. Since rolling the odometer across the 100,000-mile threshhold May 4 (something I’d been hoping to hold off until after today), check this out:

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Only 215 miles in more than two months… aided of course by our two-week European vacation and the fact that I don’t have a full-time job to drive to and from).  But still, in contrast I’ve biked about 350 miles in that span of time (353 to be exact).

In a land where you’re judged by what you drive and a percentage of the populace will frown upon anyone in a car that’s more than four years old, I’m proud to say Happy 10-Year Anniversary, my Nissan truck! And many more!