Life in ChipsvilleHave you ever suffered from depression? I’m sure you have. I think we all have at one time or another, at least for short periods of time.
By: Kevin Holten, The Dickinson Press
Have you ever suffered from depression? I’m sure you have. I think we all have at one time or another, at least for short periods of time.
Did you know that depression can be a serious medical illness that involves the brain? You see, real depression is more than just a feeling of being “down in the dumps” or “blue” for a couple of days. Real depression involves feelings that refuse to go away for very long periods and interfere with the everyday lives of more than 20 million Americans. My pickup truck is one of those millions.
That’s right, he’s big and red and I changed his oil this weekend and balanced his big fat tires, hoping that he’d come out of it, but he didn’t.
I even scrubbed him clean and removed my boots, jackets and tools from his quad cab and vacuumed every particle of dirt and dust, but to no avail. He’s still gloomy and I think I know the problem. It’s his windshield.
You see, I’ve been here nearly four years and cracked a windshield every one of those years and he apparently can’t take it anymore.
Because without a perfect windshield he feels flawed, like he’s going to the prom without a date, his wedding without a bride, Las Vegas without money, a rodeo without a hat, fishing without a rod, the beach without a towel and Sturgis without a tattoo.
Of course, when I first picked him up in Oakdale, the Cowboy Capital of California, I didn’t notice “sensitivity” as one of the features listed on that sheet that the dealer tacks on the driver’s side window but apparently it was.
All I saw was this bright red four-wheeler pumped up on steroids and glistening in the sun, begging me to buy it like it was a puppy looking through thick glass or steel bars at a pet shop and I couldn’t refuse.
I was proud when I drove him home and why not? People would stop, stare, point and smile but after a while I also learned to like what he looked like when he was covered in mud. Kind of like the Beatles going from clean cut young Brits to bearded hippies, Tom Hanks from Federal Express employee to deserted island survivor, Clark Kent from mild-mannered reporter to Superman and a football uniform from clean to soiled, because that’s cool too.
Plus, by now, after four years I feel a little naked driving without a spider web in the middle of my windshield. Like I’d be too exposed, on a stage in the middle of floodlights, or as though I was a female walking into another one of those over testosterone-filled, western North Dakota Oil Patch bars.
In fact, the spider web has become a badge of honor and I don’t know anyone who drives semi regularly on Highway 85 or 22 that doesn’t have one.
Not to mention that it’s not my fault that it’s broken, although he seems to think it is and, of course, I am driving with a partial spider web right now and putting off having it replaced until just before the first snow because why bother?
I’ll probably pick up a couple more chips this summer anyway, remembering that last summer I got a new chip the same day that I had the windshield replaced.
This latest web was created on Mother’s Day, on the way to Killdeer, when an oil tanker zoomed by and jettisoned a rock that sounded like an assassin’s bullet when it hit the edge of my windshield and sent cracks flying outward like well-marked freeways on a Los Angeles road map.
It’s really quite artsy if you look at it that way. But not as intricate as the web that was displayed on the windshield of the gravel truck that I drove the summer before my senior year in college.
That’s when I was zooming northbound from the river back towards Tioga loaded with scoria and suddenly my friend, driving in the other direction, flipped a peach pit out the window as he went by and, like Picasso, inadvertently created the ultimate web design; one that, for me, turned the highway and its white lines into pieces of a puzzle, as though I was looking through a prism, and it certainly would have won any national “web on a windshield” contest, if there was one.
But that’s probably what the world looks like to those people who are in the midst of a lengthy depression; puzzled, unclear and like looking through a prism. I guess they either need to learn to enjoy it, or replace the windshield.