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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


Ann Weaver Hart
July 19, 2006

I’ve been out in the yard lately to see the lady in the black truck drop off her child with my neighbor.  This truck is a Texas Truck—complete with lift kit, 4-wheel-drive, and $500-a-month payments.

What drew my attention to it in the first place was the driver’s determination not to park it on the street—not even for long enough to get out and hand her child to her caretaker.  Her driving skills are impressive.  One day, she got one wheel on the driveway and one on the sidewalk, and I’d venture that a plumb line dropped from her outermost bumper end would have pointed at the line where curb meets street.

Texans love their trucks.  They prefer diesel duallies, but they’ll settle for anything with a cab and a bed.  They perhaps love their vehicles too much.

My son and his friend once missed half a day of school because of a flat tire.  When I chided them that they should have walked, the friend proudly told me, “I wasn’t going to leave my truck.”  I wouldn’t leave my horse.  I wouldn’t leave my husband, child, or dog.  But, “I wouldn’t leave my truck”??  Such loyalty clarifies his priorities.

Not long after this young man began driving, my son became constitutionally unable to board a school bus.  Suddenly the bottom step became Everest, and to my knowledge, he never got on a bus again of his own free will.

A further testimony to the cult of the truck here is the way Texans cross railroad tracks.  Texas is crossed and trussed with railroads, absolutely riddled with the things.  Because of their ubiquity in our urban area, all grade crossings are well designed and carefully maintained, yet people cross them like they were treading on eggshells.  Even people in trucks.

Of course, no one wants their low-rider, truck or otherwise, to bottom out or become airborne, but people driving trucks that could clear a pony inch across the tracks like their tires were made of glass.  This behavior has given rise to a rowdy chorus from our vehicle anytime we see it.  “IT’S A TRUCK!!!” we all yell while giggling wildly.

In Texas, you can go to a car rental agency and rent a pickup truck—as long as you agree not to haul or tow anything.  This pretty much defeats the purpose of having a truck to begin with.

People are feeling the bite of $3-a-gallon gas, yet they consume 1.4% more gasoline now than they did a year ago.  Those trucks Texans love are starting to show up regularly in shopping center parking lots with For Sale signs on the windshields, because at 11 miles per gallon, it costs a lot to get around in style.  In some cases, it can actually be cheaper to drive a Cadillac.

About the author or the publisher
Ann Weaver Hart is a political writer in Bryan, Texas.  She publishes the Handbasket Chronicles Her e-mail address is annhart@columnist.com.

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