Well, it’s official. I’m a eunuch. The minivan has assumed its position as the T family truckster, at least for the next three years of our lease. I’m doing my best to avoid being seen near it - let alone in it - or God forbid, driving it.
In a minivan, I just feel emasculated. I’m a soccer mom. I’m swerving in my lane because I’m oblivious to any traffic around me. I’m trying frantically to play a DVD as the kids scream for Nemo as I schedule a parent-teacher conference on my cell phone. I’m yelling at my kids in the back seat to “stop touching your brother’s seat!”
Don’t get me wrong. I totally understand the functionality and the convenience of a minivan a/k/a the F.U.V. I will not debate anyone on those points. And as far as cost goes, it’s the most sensible decision from our budget based on the monthly payment and gas mileage. I get it. The F.U.V. totally makes sense from a graphs and charts perspective.
Just please don’t be offended when I decline the cup of pink Kool Aid (now) fellow F.U.V.ers who try to push the envelope by suggesting how awesome it is to have a Caravan/Town&Country/Siena/Odyssey/Astro, etc. Let’s just call it what this automotive transition is for me – another surrender to un-cool.
As for my car resume, it’s generally unimpressive to those with fancy pants tastes. But to the “cool” car enthusiasts, the history is rich. In order, they’ve gone like this: Toyota Corolla FX hatchback (used); Chevy Malibu Classic (used); Chevy Corsica (used); Dodge Aries K (very used and short-lived unfortunately); Ford Escort (used); Mercury Mariner (lease); Honda Civic (lease); Ford Ranger (used); and Chevy Malibu (work lease). Most of them had affectionate nicknames: Uncle Buck, the Bubonic, or Bu (original Malibu); T-minus Escrat (Escort); the Grand Marnier or Marinara (Mercury); and Ricky (the Ranger.) All of them hosted great memories and adventures.
Granted, most of my rides were not exactly hot rods that a bikini-clad woman might lay on awkwardly while a hip-hop star rapped about the rims during a music video. Nor were my wheels ever the kind of car that one would cruise in during high school to attract attention on Elm Street in Manchester on a Saturday night, by whistling at girls with (very) high bangs well supported by product.
But I’ve always loved my cars. The older, rustier, more dented, or otherwise shanked they were, the more I enjoyed being in them. I especially loved pulling up in one of my beaters at a stop light next to a car occupied by an attractive woman or women. I would flash the gap-toothed grin that said “Who is this mystery guy in a shitty car that’s still smiling like he’s thinking he’s all that?” As one might expect, the usual reaction was the other car driving quickly away from me as soon as the light turned green but you get the picture. It was all about my perspective.
Okay, after writing the last paragraph, it’s dawned on me that perhaps my level of coolness has never really attained Arthur Fonzarelli-like status. Or at least, it’s not the kind of car that dictates whether one qualifies for cool points or not. Sounds to me like it’s mostly about the driver’s state of mind. [Sigh.]
So where’s that cup of Kool-Aid anyway? It’s time to go for a ride.