Saturday, August 21, 2010
The Cadillac Of Mini Vans
Last January, after 19.5 years of motherhood I started driving a van. I had resisted up until this year because I didn’t like them and didn’t have kids who were apt to need rides with eighty pounds of equipment and four of their team members. In fact, I distained mini vans. I thought they were the ugliest cliché of a post modern suburban life style. The ultimate sign you had sold your life out to The Children. I’ll never forget the day we found The Fabulous House in the Suburbs because as we were leaving Stepford Knolls, I noticed every vehicle whizzing by us was a mini van. I looked at Ward and said: “For the love of God don’t let me buy a mini van.” Nope, no mini van for me. No SUV for me, either. I drove a station wagon. Until the Mitsubishi that Wally killed, it was my favorite car. It was fast, easy to maneuver and I could get three extra kids in it if the “way back” seat was flipped up. So barely I slid around the cliché. Only one other housewife in Stepford Knolls drove a station wagon and it was an awesome retro Mercedes touring wagon. Being van free gave me rebel cred.
One of the most foolish things I ever did was giving up the station wagon during the divorce. Ward insisted he have custody of the boys and so I was the Disneyland Mommy and really didn’t need a big ole car! Nope, I took the two door convertible because he needed the station wagon for “his“ sons. [insert face palm here] The two door thing lasted about six months before I traded it for my beloved gas hog SUV.
I didn’t have to drive my mom’s van. I could have traded it in or sold it. But the appeal of not having a car payment--something I’ve enjoyed for about six years--was more appealing than satisfying my vanity. Whoa back up the bus! Something more important than my over inflated ego? Fancy that. Despite the pining, dreaming, lusting, and sighing over a British racing car green over green MINI Cooper S hardtop with both winter and premium packages for about 3 years, I resisted. Hence the van is now referred to as the MINI van. (You say “MINI“loud and whisper “van“) I still sigh over them when I see them in traffic, they are just the most adorable cars, like puppies that never loose the fluffy sweet puppy look. Besides, me and TG would look cute in a MINI.
This isn’t saying we don’t look hot in the MINI van. Especially with Dad’s “Bass Master” sticker picturing a leaping fish in the back window, it just adds to the irony of it all. I keep threatening to get some of those stupid family decals, too. Two women: one shorter with curly hair, one taller with straight hair, two very tall and skinny male figures in baggy pants and caps plus a decrepit and scruffy looking dog with a blank stare and a big tongue hanging out of his mouth. To add to the confusion: my bumper would feature a Darwin fish on one side of the license and a bumper sticker about What Would Jesus Do on the other. Realistically, I’m reluctant to put anything about Jesus on my bumper because then I can’t yell at cars because that behavior would leave no doubt the depth of my hypocrisy on any given day. Without the Jesus bumper sticker people just think I’m a godless heathen with an anger management problem and they pray for my soul after I‘ve yelled at them so it‘s a win-win situation: I get to yell at cars and get bonus prayers for my soul, too.
To be honest, the MINI van is actually a very nice car with leather seats and electric everything. It’s the nicest car I’ve ever had and the price was just so right. I drive it thankfully and only curse it when I have to parallel park.
A couple of months ago we were going downtown to our favorite restaurant and I was riffing on the fact we were in a mini van, and how we were making mini van’s hip for the rest of the world. And weren’t we something else. . . And then I flashed on Get Shorty and how Chili confidently explained his odd car choice to Martin Weir as “The Cadillac of mini vans” and whaddya know the dark green vans started showing up all over Hollywood. Because Chili was just that cool. By this time we had pulled into our parking place and were getting out when I noticed the car pulling in next to us: a brand new black mini van. “See what did I say? We started a trend and all the cool lesbians will be driving mini vans!“ I was expecting a Mommy and Daddy to get out of their van but was amazed when two painfully fashionable and dapper young men emerged from the van.
Uh huh…told ya’ so. The MINI of mini vans is what I’m driving.