The truck sits here disabled by law. It runs great. I ran it yesterday, but it's not legal to drive. It's not inspected. The windows don't roll down. I suspect the wiring harness in the door. Also there is some front end issue. It shimmies a little when you get it going. The law is what keeps it off the road, but it's optimistic. A little bit of attention can fix what ails it. It's a good truck.
My birthday comes around like an iron comet. Each year it comes whether I want it to or not. It'll keep coming around even after I'm gone. The date is fixed onto the calendar. Only when we stop using this calendar and stop having things like June will my birthday stop coming around. It doesn't really care about me, but we all pretend that it is my day when really I belong to it. I was assigned it like a parolee gets an officer.
The truck does not come and go on a whim, either. It's here. I can go out right now and get in it. I can drive it all over the state. I have imaginary conversations with young police pulling me over for lack of obvious credentialing in which I totally pull old white man rank with a good dose of humility and possible forgetfulness. I get a warning and get to keep driving. This is a lucky truck, though, even if you are not me. It'll take you and six other degenerates and all your junk on your favorite vacation.
For my birthday somebody always bakes a cake. This year it was my wife. I looked at it last night. It is a lovely looking cake. I mean that. It looks good enough to eat! Not for my wife though. She can't have most of the ingredients in the cake she made for me. As usual with the non-wealthy, doctors make guesses at what ails her. She's settled on a diagnosis she can understand. Naming it means she doesn't get better and she can't have cake. Whatever might be ailing me has not been named by a doctor yet, so I still get to eat cake.
The truck takes a lot of gas. Sometimes people care about that and sometimes not. Our other car is a wee thing and it takes less than one Jackson to fill the tank and tour around all day. Our family is smaller now than it was. The last vacation we took we all fit into the weenie mobile. The truck stayed home. Trucks don't get sad, but looking at it now reminds me that time flows in one direction and the kids still here are not going to get younger and more dependent. So I have decided to sell the truck.
My birthday this year is non-monumental. The number has no specific cultural meaning. It's not a milestone of any significance. Just another day, but special in that I have to have people who know it's my birthday wish I would just have a happy one, gosh darn it! And I want to, too. I don't want to feel like on this day all my memories are compressed and layered and freighted with heightened awareness of impending disaster. I just want to be happy! But I know some people who are my family and some who are my friends feel they have to do something about that.
I've never made any promises to the truck. We did name it, but nothing so fun and original that I care to reveal it here. We just lazily named it after a character who shared the epithet of the vehicle. I don't know on what day it was completed and rolled off the factory floor ready to adjust to the whims of a new owner. It might as well be on the same day I rolled out. I'm not going to give the truck any cake, though. Not even going to put in a pricey fuel additive or wash it. I don't care for the truck that way. Maybe that's what it needs now, though. It needs someone to shove annual cake into its pipe and call it love.
You can't sleep in the back of a birthday. You can pack a bunch of friends and family into it and go on an adventure, so the truck is like a birthday in that one way. You can't sell a birthday to pay off the debt you still owe from buying it in the first place. You can't congratulate someone for purchasing a fine birthday, watch someone else get into it and have all the memories that go with it drive off forever, so you might think the birthday is the better deal. Maybe it is. You can't drive a birthday like a truck, though. This is a good truck.