Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Engineering Love

We went accessory shopping yesterday. I needed something to go with that white skirt from last year. Now I need cowboy boots.

Henry is our new F-150, FX4, off-road, extended bed, 4-door crew cab, plaything with a huge engine and whole lot of haul. The wheel well is higher than my waist. Don’t be fooled by that pretty white exterior. He isn’t sporting fancy, girlie, high-polish wood-grain inside that cab.

Oh, no, not any fancy wood-grain for Henry. This truck has high durability fabrics and a plethora of deeply grooved rubber.

Henry seeks adventure.

Once he knows me better, he’ll ask to be called Hank. I can tell these things.

I remember the first time I drove a truck. I was out in the Arizona desert with these guys. I had flown in from Japan to learn the hot weather test process. We were there for work, but it was after work, and a few of the engineers had decided to take some trucks off-road.

The lead engineer on the trip took me in his Ford truck, still equipped with all the monitoring devices. The only lights beyond the truck headlights were the desert stars. The various gauges taped on the dashboard told us more than the view through our windshield, often obscured by the Arizona dust.

After driving for quite some time down a rough, dirt road, he asked me if I wanted a turn.

Me? A turn? I didn’t hesitate. My heart raced. I slid the seat forward as far as it could go, and still pulled on the wheel to bring my feet closer to the pedals. The sweat poured down my back. We had had perfect test weather that day – nearly 120 degrees. Heat radiated off the dirt.

“Put your tire on the rocks,” he called out.

We went. I went fast. I drove country roads in high school in a Pontiac. I drove too fast then, and wasn’t much older. The girl desk jockey from the Japan office wouldn’t be outdone.

“Don’t miss! Tires on the rocks!” I heard him again.

“Okay, okay, okay.”

I hit the rocks. I hit them one by one, I was on a roll. Until all of the sudden, the truck cut out.


A mild panic enveloped me. Driving back roads was not frowned upon. Breaking trucks wasn’t cool.

I knew the lead engineer well enough to know he had rebuilt a Bronco for fun. He had a patent. He could fix the truck. He could even fix a truck in the dark, dusty, Arizona desert.

He looked around. He checked quite a few things. He probably wanted to yell at me, but he didn’t. Finally, he fixed the truck.

We let out a deep breath, and drove back to the hotel.

Fifteen years later, we bought Henry.

And, here is a picture of our junior engineer meeting Henry for the first time. He's in love too.


OHmommy said...

Are you going to be driving three kids in that as your main mode of transportation. Or is the DHs?

That's one heck of a machine. My husband picked me up in a truck on our first date. He misses it.

Laura said...

Pat is going to be jealous. He keeps telling me he wants a new one. Can't wait to see Bessie. Hank and Bessie will be a nice couple. Looks like Henry came from a farm. Where is there a barn with a Ford sign on it?

Badass Geek said...

Nice! It's like the older brother of my truck.

MIT Mommy said...

OHmommy - It is a third vehicle for us, at least for now. With the extended bed and cab, the beast doesn't fit in a proper parking spot. I had to park in the back 40 at Giant Eagle yesterday. Of course $115 of groceries fit easily at Gladys' feet.

Laura - Henry is brand new from a Ford dealership in Ohio. That Ford barn WAS the dealership - there is a picture of a Model T in front of that building in the lobby. It was hard to resist taking that picture.

Did you ever name yours? Bessie will look like the little sister next to you. She will need Hank to watch her back.

MIT Mommy said...

Badass - That is so funny. Andrew was talking about how the F-250s, F-350s were our truck's big brothers.

OHmommy - I do have to drive it around town because it is best to have some miles on it before we tow with it, so you'll probably see me in it at some point. And, I have to admit, its rather fun to drive. I can't wait to take it out West. Tee hee.

Indy said...

Are you going to add a NRA sticker or some racing number on it? Just kidding. I drove a truck for my college job. You get a lot of attention from men when you drive a truck. Enjoy!!!

MIT Mommy said...

Indy - I told hubby that we should have a logo because a white truck looks like a company vehicle. He didn't think it was funny.

Brigette said...

Hank is a hunk!

When we first came to New Mexico from snooty suburban Los Angeles, Elizabeth pointed at a pick-up truck, gasped in astonishment, and cried, "Mom, that lady is driving a MAN car!"

Anonymous said...

Wow that's a beast! I've never driven anything that huge, although I have fantasised about doing so.

MIT Mommy said...

splodge - That's it! When you get back to Africa, you MUST rent the largest pick-up available and drive into the sunset. =)

AreWeThereYet? said...

Felt like I was back home in rural Iowa having coffee with my friends who just drove into town from their farms. I was the coolest chic at coffee -- just saying I know you.

I think this bad boy deserves personalized license plates. Anyone care to weigh in with suggestions???