Friday, October 23, 2009

More from Mahler: A Word from The Camel

My Wife had some unexpected car troubles last night and the whole situation served as a not-so-gentle reminder to me about how dependent on automobiles we truly are. On that note, I went back to the archives and found the following column – the first I wrote after moving to Colorado – about the one friend that has been with me during my entire experience moving out west.

PS – Happy 60th birthday wishes to my mother today. Love you mom!

Editor’s Note: Josh has been frustrated that he hasn’t gotten to write much – OK, at all – since he’s been in Colorado but trying to find employment so that he can stay in Colorado has been his top priority. So while Josh continues to search the job listings, his car, “The Camel”, would like to take this opportunity to address Josh’s loyal readers.

Yo. It’s The Camel here.

Actually I’m Josh’s 2003 Mazda Protégé, but he and his friends thought “The Camel” was a cute little nickname on our recent cross-country drive out to Denver. I mean, I get it: I’m beige and it looked like I had a camel hump with the ridiculous car top carrier that Josh and his dad strapped on the top of me before we left Virginia.

But beyond that, I’ve got another bone to pick with everyone.

Everyone keeps asking how Josh is doing out here in Colorado but NO ONE has bothered to ask how I’m doing, how my life has changed. Yeah, yeah, poor Josh. He doesn’t have a job, doesn’t have any money, doesn’t know a soul but trust me, he’s fine. He loves it out here. He loves the big city, he loves being on his own and trying to make it on his own, and most importantly, he LOVES the mountains.

Me? Not so much.

You gotta understand, I’m used to tooling around the Hampton Roads area of Virginia where it’s flatter than Kate Hudson.

Just a few weeks ago, my life was simple. Josh would drive me five minutes to work every morning, five minutes back home every afternoon and a couple nights of the week we went to downtown Norfolk to visit his Girlfriend and hang out at his favorite sports bar, the Monarch.

Then out of nowhere one Saturday morning, he packed me to the gills with all of his stuff, picked up a couple of his buddies and then just started driving… and driving… and driving until we finally got to Denver (Josh thinks that it was the “wind” that blew off that stupid car top carrier while we were driving through Kansas but I had been trying to wiggle that thing loose ever since West Virginia).

I do have to admit that it is absolutely gorgeous out here. There’s certainly no scenery like this back home; the sky is so big and the mountains really are majestic. But now, Josh takes me in a new direction every day. North, South, East, West – we’ve done it all already and every day he tries to find a new place we haven’t been and see if he can find his way back.

Yeah, that’s fun.

The direction Josh likes to go the most, however, is straight UP. He tries to go up into the mountains every chance he can get. Believe me, I’m very secure in who I am and what I can do, but sorry champ, rock climbing is not my strong suit.

There are stretches of road that are so steep up in the Rockies that there’s been times when Josh has the gas pedal all the way down on the floor and the best I can do is strain to get it up to about 50-55 mph. But don’t worry, going downhill on the way back, he can push the brake pedal through the floor board and we are still going 60 mph.

A couple of weeks ago Josh drove a couple hours west into the mountains so it was dark outside when we were coming back home; only he didn’t anticipate a couple of things. When it snows (like it does in the Rockies during the winter – imagine that), the roads get dirty so it’s hard to see the lines on the pavement. Combine that with the fact there’s no lights on the side of the road and we were basically driving blind on the side of a mountain for over an hour. I seriously made peace with my Mazda maker as my life flashed before my headlights.

I have to give Josh credit though. He has done his best to take care of me and has really learned a lot more about car maintenance the past few weeks. With it snowing so often, it is impossible to keep me clean longer than a few days, but he’s run me through a car wash and regularly stops to wash off my windows. He got me some new windshield washer blades, an oil change and even front end brakes since we’ve been out here so he’s making an effort.

Whew. OK, I feel better. Thanks for letting me get that off my hood.

Well, I should probably go. Josh is walking towards me and he’s got that goofy look in his eyes like he’s excited about going somewhere new today.


And we’re off again...

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