I was chilling at the Laundromat writing last week's column and waiting for my bedclothes to dry when a dude sauntered up and said, "This might be a weird question, but is that Dennis the Truck?"
I stared at him, mouthbreathing like I do, and replied, "What?"
"Dennis," he said, pointing through the window at my sweet ride. "Dennis the Truck?"
Close. Three years ago when I bought it, I named the truck Kevin. (You can call him Miss Jackson if you're nasty.) Since then, Kevin's made a few appearances in columns, but it was still kind of weird to have him spotted.
In remembering the interaction, I'm think I made a frowny face and backed a foot away, muttering swear words, because this is how I greet people. And that's important, because three days after being recognized on the street, Kevin the Truck was dead. (Cue the "Law & Order" sound effect, please, Editor.)
What happened to Kevin, you didn't ask? Well, I'll tell you. He died at passenger pickup at freakin' DIA.
One minute he was fine, and the next it was as if his heart had stopped. A few hours later, the truck had been towed back to Boulder and I was exploring theories over a beer.
"Obviously, sometime in the past I wronged the Laundry Dude and so he used the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique on my truck. Either that, or he put a curse on Kevin like some kind of a witch. Like a witch that's a dude. A manwich. Whatever."
My mechanic had a different theory involving one of the two parts of the truck I haven't yet replaced, and as it turns out, he was right. Also, it wasn't the rearview mirror, it was that other thing, the thing which costs thousands to replace, the thing called the Whole Damn Engine.
After wasting some time sweating profusely and bursting into tears, I decided it was time to get down to brass tacks and solve the problem. Solving it with money wasn't going to be easy, since I had $45 till payday; it was time to get creative.
An hour later, I knew what to do.
"I will max out my cards, submit all my invoices, ride my bike to work, and start making my own liquor at home using a sock, an orange, some sugar and the toilet tank," I announced.
"Awesome," said the mailman.
And so I got right to it. The cards are officially maxed, the invoices are sent, I have purchased a month's supply or ramen, and, last week, I started riding my bike to work and back. Also to everywhere else because that's how it works when you don't have a car.
Riding the bike (no, it doesn't have a name yet) has been quite an experience. To successfully make it uphill, I must unleash reserves of both leg power and curse words.
I've learned not to be overly interested in nature, since butterflies and prairie dogs have a way of distracting you from swarms of gnats that want to buzz straight into your mouth, and birds that swoop at your head.
Changing the route is great for building new brain synapse connections, yes, but can also result in riding through sickening pond water, getting lost a half mile from work, and yard-saling your belongings all over the sidewalk after you hit a bad bump riding through construction.
Should you find yourself in a similar not-car-having predicament, I'd recommend picking a straightforward route to virtually everywhere.
In a month, things will be back to normal and I'll have a truck again. In the meantime, I'll be hitting the trails and the prison-style sangria pretty hard.
Jeanine Fritz writes about automotive anthromophization each Monday in the Colorado Daily.