The best part of my town is not living on the edge of the world's first national park with breathtaking scenery. It is not going for morning walks and watching an osprey dive into the river and come back out clutching trout in its talons. It's not having a staring contest with a pronghorn antelope or hearing the elk bugle. The best part of my town is Derek. I knew Derek would be "the one" when I first met him. He handed my keys to me, our hands touched, and as our eyes locked he said with a quiet, confident smile, "Everything should be better now." I knew, deep in my heart, that he was right. And since that moment, some months ago, things have been magical and different. I feel like I'm living in a fairy tale.
Derek takes care of my car.
My car has waited a long, long time to have a relationship like this. This little Hyundai has traveled across the country and throughout the Rocky Mountains. It's been tough at times, this search for "the one". Time after time my car's been out of my care, but she always comes back unsatisfied after the first date. It's probably partly my fault. I do my best to take good care of her, but I'm afraid all too often she has received only barely competent care. I pushed oil changes off as long as possible and when I couldn't wait anymore I drove straight to the cheapest, quickest place that I could find. All of that changed when I came here. Derek is the caretaker my little one has always hoped for. He changes the oil, checks the battery (I don't ask him to and he doesn't charge), tightens loose bolts (no charge), reminds me to rotate and/or buy new tires (free of charge), selects the best tires for the car (also free of charge), and orders them because by now he knows me, my car, and my budget well enough to know what we both need. He promises to call when they come and I know my Hyundai can't wait to spend another afternoon with him.
For me, I appreciate that he keeps me in the loop in this relationship. Derek often stops by my work, where he's also responsible for our fleet of vehicles. Without fail, he pokes his head into my office with a smile and asks, "How's your car running?" As if all of this wasn't enough to earn my undying loyalty and my car's affection, when there is work to be done on the car I park it behind the building and leave the keys inside. He comes, picks it up, and drops it back off while I'm at work. No more sitting in the Jiffy Lube waiting room eating stale popcorn (especially since the nearest Jiffy Lube is 80 miles away). No more wondering if I really need a new air filter or if the company is looking to make an extra buck on my ignorance. I don't even know Derek's last name, but if I did I'd send him flowers because my car has found true love.