Sunday, October 16, 2005

Material Things

Call it eccentric. Many of us have relationships with material things. Some of those are love/hate relationships. Sailors sometimes assign gender to such objects as vessels. I've had a relationship with my personal vehicle for the last 16 years. In popular culture your mode of transportation is a statement of sorts. Vehicles get personalized with style, color, plates, even bumper stickers. When I was a kid, I grew up in a poor neighborhood and those who could afford vehicles treated them like they were members of the family. Acquiring a new car, even a used car was like the arrival of a new child. Born to or adopted to excited relatives. A lot of effort went into cleaning, waxing and general caring for the vehicle. No such celebration here.
My personal vehicle, a 1989 Ford Econoline 150 (Cargo van) in a midnight blue offered little to the observer in the way of clues about me. Handicapped plates, easy-pass, WPU Alumni parking sticker and BCC faculty parking sticker, oh and yes, a faded NJ PBA shield. (Badge Americard, don't leave home without it) 2009,000 miles fades the finish on the van but it owes me nothing.
The interior was bare bones, no creature comforts, weak heating/air-conditioning, noisy and without insulation. Mind you I'm not regretting any of my decisions about purchasing it. I never assigned a gender to it but if I had it would have been male. Rugged, no frills, cold and solid.
On Friday I took possession of a new van. A 2005 Ford Econoline 250 (Conversion Van) brushed gold. Not so noticeable to the observer is the creature comforts. Tinted windows, 8 cylinders as opposed to six, fuel injection 15 inch tires, insulation, carpeting, front and rear air conditioning/heating, remote Key-less remote entry and ignition. The ride is so smooth, the temperature so comfortable, the sound system. I can go on and on. If I had to assign a gender to it it would be female. "She" is sleek, fast and oh so smooth.
Now don't get me wrong, I was not seeking a luxury vehicle. Not looking to make a statement, but you no longer can get a wheelchair accessible van without these options. Regrettably you also have to pay for them.
But I never thought I get sentimental about the old van, but I do recognize it has taken me to my wedding, to gainful employment, and a master's degree. Vacations, photo shoots, and new home, it's been dependable, inexpensive and has provided me with so many opportunities.
It's next life will no doubt be recycled. I'm donating it to charity.
I'm hoping this next relationship is even half as good as the last

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