A friend of mine asked me recently, out of genuine concern, what kind of car I drive. Not out of concern for my reputation, mind you. But more of the mindset of “How do you FIT all of these people that you created IN your car?”
Like most formerly cool people, I initially resisted the idea of a minivan. Not because I was a car snob prior to reproducing at the speed of light. No, precisely the opposite. Because most of the cars I’d driven were clunkers…
Car #1: a Hyundai that I proudly bought with money from my first high school job. The car with the sunroof that leaked rainwater on my unfortunate passengers, and had a broken CV joint that would crackle like firecrackers when I turned left, frightening small children.
Car #2: a black sporty Mazda that I enjoyed despite the electrical shorts that would suddenly leave the radio dead without warning, or would flip the headlights on at inopportune times. Or would activate the horn, without warning. A honking, headlight-blaring black sports car. I was really loved on New York parkways.
Car #3: a “college special”… special as in, only a person possessing special powers could drive it. The driver’s side door was permanently jammed shut. So in order to get INTO the car, I’d have to slide over from the passenger’s side.
That was the easy part; the real challenge came with the whole driving and parking thing. The car didn’t have power steering. If you’ve ever had a car without power steering -and since you’re likely younger than, say 75, you probably haven’t- then it’s sort of like trying to steer a yacht with a bicycle wheel. As in, STUPID and impossible.
This car required a lot of advanced planning. Not just for allowing more time to you know, get IN the car, and to, you know, put on my heavy padded work gloves to, you know, STEER the car. I also needed to select just the right parking spot on campus. Ideally, a pull-in spot. Because in order to leave the spot, I couldn’t reverse out of it, because:
there was no REVERSE. No looking back. Only forward.
(A moment of silence because you pity me. I can feel it…)
Car #4: a sensible Plymouth inherited from my grandfather. It had doors that opened, and all its gears intact. The only less than appealing aspect of the car was it’s dented front fender. Less appealing not so much for its cosmetic fault, but the fact that if you drove over 35mph, the jagged flap of metal would proceed to shake and vibrate in the wind, creating an unsettling sound resembling a hissing, spitting animal. A sound that once again alarmed bystanders.
Then I arrived. The teaching job, the big bucks, and I finally bought myself a fantastic brand new Altima, fully loaded.
I’d drive to work with my CDs (hey, pre-iPod days) blaring, chugging my Starbucks. The Captain and I even took a spontaneous road trip down to Disney World in it, staying in posh hotels and snickering at the minivans crammed with kids that we passed along the way; we were snide childless people.
(I should mention here that we found out I was pregnant with child #1 on this very trip, hyperventilating over a pee stick in the Charleston Marriott. Oh, the irony..)
So we bit the bullet after Child #2 and ended up with a minivan. I knew it was practical, because Child #3 was due to arrive. And I didn’t even begrudge its lack of air conditioning. Or the back windows that didn’t open in the heat of July, transforming the van into a tiny toddler steamroom. What finally did me in was not having a sliding side door on the van.
And I mean literally. On a trip to the library, I slid the door open only to have it abruptly fall off the hinges and slam to the ground.
As in, NO MORE DOOR.
But at least there was air conditioning in the back now, for which we were thankful.
So fast forwarding to present times- yes, I absolutely do drive a minivan. And I’m in that phase of life in which I truly love it, right down to the stick figure family taking up most of the back window. We leased a Town & Country van two years ago, and I fell in love with its cargo space, its satellite radio, and its power doors. LOOOVE IT!
Then we found out I was pregnant with baby #6, meaning that we would soon be a family of eight. I called Town & Country, desperately hoping they’d have an eight passenger vehicle. The salesman’s baffled response:
“Oh, an 8 passenger? For -how many- 6? kids?… (pause).. Is it for a daycare?”
So the sad fact is that for the time being, we can’t travel as a family unit. But it works for now, since The Captain is much too busy working overtime to afford a bigger car to be able to be in the car anyway…!© Copyright 2013 Six Pack Mom, All rights Reserved. Written For: Six Pack Mom