Wheel and e-brake handle from Aircooled Accessories.

I knew I wanted to marry Miracle when she talked me out of selling the bus. 

“Talked me out of” isn’t the right turn of phrase. She never said, “Ryan, here’s my argument for why you should keep the bus.” In fact, she never actively tried to dissuade me. I had been talking about unloading the bus for a couple months; it would cost too much to fix up; it needed a new engine, man; my ex-wife opted for a lump sum payment in lieu of alimony and the cash from selling the bus would certainly come in handy. 

Miracle and I would take the bus out for spins around town where I had to sometimes pump the gas at stoplights while holding down the clutch. People pointed and waved and smiled and I would smile and wave back. I’d sing—even when I didn’t have a radio installed. Then Miracle said, “You know, you’re your happiest when you’re behind that steering wheel.”

I knew right then I had to keep her—the bus and Miracle. 

Happiness is hard for me because I am prone to fairly severe depression. I don’t want anyone to get the impression that depression and happiness are opposites. It’s possible for me to laugh all evening long and then go home and sob for no reason at all. I can run a race or do a public reading, receive the adulation of the crowd—their cheers and applause—and still hate myself the entire time. It’s because of this—this undercurrent of depression rushing under me, around my ankles like swift creekwater—that I have a hard time with happiness. I can’t trust it.

My happiness is not Miracle’s responsibility. When she makes her observations, when she offers her insight, I trust it. I trust her. She knows me best, knows what resides in the heart of my heart.Since we have been together, the depression is less severe and the depressive episodes farther apart. It is present, but manageable. 

I struck up a conversation with a fella doing some work on the bus for me. He said he had a pretty sweet metal detector—the Rolls Royce of detectors, apparently. He said walking around, digging up shit was cheaper than therapy, that he needed to get out of his head, that it was better than meditation. He said people thought he was crazy, but metal detecting was good for his mental health. 

The steering wheel is my top of the line metal detector. It’s therapeutic. I am my happiest when I plunk myself behind the wheel and just… go. Miracle bought it for me and I love her. 

*I want to note that I am a big proponent of therapy. There is no substitute for talk therapy with a professional. Having been in talk therapy helped set me on the track I’m on. Talk therapy also taught me what is therapeutic and when I need to call up a counselor and say, “Driving around in my ‘79 Bus isn’t cutting it right now. Can we talk?” If you have depression, talk with a professional. Your significant other is not a therapist. 

**The steering wheel, as I’m sure many V-dubbers probably guessed is from Aircooled Accessories. All their products are top notch and they usually send some great/salacious stickers and air fresheners with their wares. 

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