Tailgate Wisdom: A Relationship Is Like A Truck

I am fluent in four languages. English, sarcasm, profanity and male. It was the last one that was the hardest to master. - J.V. Manning

The other day a good friend of mine stopped by. Randomly out of the blue. I happened to be sitting on my deck having coffee and writing at the time as it was early morning. I glanced up as I heard the deep guttural sound of a souped up exhaust. As he got out of his huge truck -- coffee in hand -- I knew something was up.

My usually smiling, happy-go-lucky friend looked forlorn, lost, and sad. You have to get a picture of this guy in your head: he is tall, strong as an ox, and a man's man. Rugged and tough on the outside, big teddy bear on the inside. But he is a guy. With obvious guy tendencies. Talking isn't one of his strong points.

So when he shows up out of the blue, with coffee and a lost look on his face, I knew something was up. I also knew it was going to be an hour and several cups of coffee before he got around to it. Thankfully, I am multilingual. I speak English, sarcasm, profanity, and "Male." Being fluent in Male comes in handy at times like these.

After about the fifth cup of coffee and the latest news on his truck modifications, he finally had gotten around to the reason behind his visit. He had an argument with his girlfriend the night before. He knew that he had screwed something up, but was unable to translate her words into Male.

Photo by Collector Cars. (Flickr)

Once the caffeine had loosened his tongue, he got into the gist of the argument. Apparently there had been a discussion on soul mates. She had made a comment about a girlfriend of hers finding her soul mate. My friend, sensing he was supposed to contribute something, said that was awesome for her. He knew how awesome it was to find his soul mate. He had his girlfriend. In his world, this comment was the type to score some brownie points. And thing is, he really means it.

But then, he followed it up with, "finding your soul mate is cool, it takes the pressure off and you don't have to work at it any more. You find the one you are supposed to love and that's it." Apparently his girlfriend took exception to the follow-up comment. Her rebuttal was something along the lines of; "Of course you still have to work at it. You have to show the person you love how much they mean to you. Actions speak louder than words."

There was alot more she said, alot more. But the basic summary is that she now understands why he never goes that extra effort for her, does special things just for her, or puts any thought into their relationship. He thinks he is done. He has her, he is happy and now doesn't need to worry or think about it anymore. If only, right?

I thought for a moment. Here is this awesome guy. He loves his girlfriend, plans on marrying her soon. He doesn't want anyone else. He is happy. He is also now seriously confused. I got up from my chair and told him to follow me. I walked over to his truck and started speaking male. I opened the little door to his gas tank and said "What goes in here?" He replied "fuel." Then I popped the hood. I pointed to the spark plugs and said, "What are these for?" He replied that they were spark plugs and that they caused the spark to ignite the fuel. No spark. No combustion. No Combustion. No Go.

He is glaring at me now because he knows I know all of this and thinks I am toying with him. Then I point to the oil cap and ask, "Why does your truck need oil?" He replied, through gritted teeth, that it lubricates the engine components and makes it run smoothly. Now he is really looking at me like I have finally lost it.

I drop the tailgate, sit down and say: "You put fuel in twice a week. The spark plugs ignite the fuel and cause combustion. This causes you to go. The oil lubricates all your engine components and makes things run smoothly. This takes maintenance. This takes thought. This takes work. You forget to maintain any one of these and your truck breaks down. The same thing goes for your relationship. You are the fuel, your love is the spark plug, and the oil -- well, the oil is the blood and life of your relationship. You have to maintain the oil, just like you have to maintain your life. Your actions fuel your relationship, your thoughts spark it and your love makes it run smoothly. If any one of these breaks down, you have to fix it in order for it to work. Routine maintenance is key."

He stood very still. His eyes looking at his truck but seeing in his mind his girlfriend. He understood. He works hard, he is always faithful and he loves her. But what he didn't realize at first is that while all of this was the fuel to his relationship, he still needed to maintain it. He still needed to make that special effort for her. For her and him. It is only together that their engine ran smoothly.

Now he understood that not only did he need to remember to get gas and his oil changed. He also needed to dedicate time and attention to her. She wasn't the type that needed a big display or expensive gifts and he knew that. He also knew that he was going to do whatever it took to make her happy.

He looked at me with a grin and said he was going home to tell her that he understood. That she was just like his truck and he was going to treat her the same way. I just shook my head at him and let him go. Baby steps. She will understand. He is a guy after all.

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