Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Vandering mind

Call it naivete: I convinced myself I'd be one of the lucky ones. Look at Tracey R! I thought. She's done it, twice, and emerged apparently unscathed.

Of course I read every scrap of research I could find, pondered it endlessly with friends and strangers alike, even voiced my concerns with the salesman in the final seconds before signing on the dotted line. But he quickly and easily smooth-talked his way past my feeble objections. "Oh, every once in a great while, that might happen," he murmured, "but trust me: if it does, you won't even care."

And of course, he's absolutely right. I don't care. I'm happy, much happier than I ever imagined I'd be. But like Algernon, I have fleeting memories of my old life, flashing like lightning through my tiny, mouse-sized brain.

I have been lobotomized by my new minivan.

My. Minivan. The words look oxymoronic on the computer screen.

How could I possibly have a minivan? Aren't I a carefree 19-year-old babysitting these three adorable children and waiting for their mother to return with a hastily written check and a hearty thank-you for doing such an awesome job feeding and caring for them in her absence? And then I'll take my big check, hop into my zippy Jetta, punch in my favorite cassette tape and crank up the volume as I dash to The Limited so I have something cute to wear to Sixth Street tonight.

And yet, there in the driveway stands all evidence to the contrary. It's my minivan. Shiny black outside. Tan leather inside. Every conceivable bell and whistle. Parked next to my old love, my silver Volvo, which looks slightly humble now.

We had such good times together, my wagon and I. It was a stalwart of safety when I needed it most, living in a neighborhood that was slightly more than sketchy, with a traveling husband, a cranky old dog and a three-month-old baby. We navigated the streets of Dallas, the cities of Texas, even an ill-advised summer trip to Alabama with mi familia loca.

Ever loyal, it rolled with me to a better neighborhood. It magically expanded to hold a trio of car seats, wedged tightly together, on its middle bench. It forgave me a few minor scrapes, and I forgave it when it decided to blow hot air instead of cool in the middle of July for no apparent reason when we were three hours away from home.

But just today, my heart skipped a beat when I mashed a pea-sized button and watched two sleek black doors slide quietly open. Poor, sweet Volvo. How can you possibly compete with that?

My mind may be shot. I may never form a coherent sentence again. But if you see me scooting around town with three kids who are thrilled to have their own elbow room and more cupholders than they could ever want, you might detect a flash of something unexpected behind the tinted windows.

It's a big sappy smile. Me and my minivan.


Blogger jen said...


so glad you've switched teams (not that I'm ever going to join you, but I enjoy yearing about the inner struggle.

ps) I have a copy of An Inconvenient Truth and a projector with a 70" screen...you all ready for movie night?

5:52 AM  
Blogger Big Mama said...

One time my company car was in the shop getting fixed and I got a minivan rental. It took every ounce of my courage to admit at the end of the week that I not only liked the minivan, I had fallen in love with it.

You are so funny. I'll be looking for the sweet party van on I-35.

6:29 AM  
Blogger anniemcq said...

Oh, you are toooo funny. Joe-Henry wishes we could get one, but I can't justify it with my measly one kid. Lucky you that we don't live on the same street, because he'd be at your house every day asking if he could push that button that opens and closes the doors!
p.s. - you'll always be 19 in your heart!

7:39 AM  
Blogger sarah kate said...

it's beautiful! if it's the oddessy link, i am in love. don't tell the forever, loyal, 8 year-old truck i drive, but i am fantisizing about your minivan right this very moment. slow, sweet, smile....ahhhh.

someday i too will have remote controlled things in/on/near my car. i will then drive one over to yours and we can remotely control things together! we could have contests and feats of...well...coolness!

1:44 PM  
Blogger henry and greta's mommy said...

other than weentrab, i think it's fair to say that everyone who reads will feel your pain AND your joy all in the same instance. i will mourn the loss of my current mode of transportation who has taken me through all life's greatest transitions. but when i clicked on your link, i won't lie. saliva was forming. it's a beauty, franklin. volvo, you will be with us in spirit. we bid you farewell and hope the best for you in the future.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Tracey R. said...

In my few spare moments of quickly checking in on the computer before hitting the funeral, dressed in my black suit and heels and pearls, I decide to check Franklin's site, even though it might seem on the surface to be a waste of precious time because this blog is not updated with nearly the regularity that it should be.

Yet, my effort is rewarded with an awesome post - thanks for giving me a big smile and a giggle on this somber morning. WELCOME TO THE CLUB. You will never regret it, and the pain of being a minivan mom will quickly go away (I promise) as you appreciate it more and more each day. I have completely resigned myself to driving a minivan for the next 15 years - but then, ah then, there should be a very cool hybrid Volkswagon that I will reward myself with!

Off the funeral - hope to see you Saturday!

7:26 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Congrats on the new van! What a sweet one to boot. I have been driving a mini van since right before Ryan was born. Who knew I'd REALLY need one! It def makes travelling with 3 much more comfy!

8:42 PM  

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