Tuesday, February 6, 2007

In Defense of the Much-Maligned MiniVan

Vintage minivan: Lloyd LT 600What the heck?  Why in the name of unleaded gasoline, are so many people such virulent haters of the minivan?  I read a few blogs on a regular basis, and many of them are fessing up to (hanging their heads in shame) "crossing over to the dark side" by buying a minivan.  They bemoan the fact that their "cool factor" has bitten the dust, and gnash their teeth that it has come down to this.  No more cute zippy sports cars ... we have <gulp> CHILDREN now, and so we have to drive this monstrosity that they call a minivan.  Heavens to murgatroyd, how far they fall.

Granted, I chuckle to myself when I arrive at a function (be it a baseball game, or school orientation meeting) at the row after row of almost identical minivans in the parking lot.  It's kinda humorous to me .. but denigrate them?  Why?  I have driven a minivan since 1993 (after trading in our BMW that had a standard transmission .. ever try to give a baby a bottle and shift at the same time?  Yes, this was back in the Stone Ages when it was okay to put the baby seat in the front) with a short period of time during which I coveted my neighbor's Suburban.  I whined and pleaded and hinted to David that I really really wanted a Suburban, it was so cool -- the cool factor was ratcheted way up for Suburbans!  I was ready to step out into the cool zone.  So, we bought a Yukon XL.  At first I felt like I was piloting a bulldozer, but I thought, I'll get used to it.  And the first day I tried to load the kids into it, with the REAL (not sliding) doors, that actually stick out from the sides of the car, I knew that this was going to be a gigantic pain in the butt.  But since I had gone to such lengths to get the thing, I felt I had to suck it up and be happy.

Then I kept hitting things.  Parked cars.  Parking garage ticket booths.  Garage doors.  (I told David one time, "I'm so tired of having dents in my car!"  His answer:  "Then stop hitting stuff!"  Thanks hon.)  The thing was just HUGE.  I never got used to the sense that I was taking up two lanes (or more) and I was almost embarrassed that I was head & shoulders above everyone else on the road.  "Look at me!  I can afford to pay $75.00 to gas up this thing!  I can squash your Audi like a BUG!  TAWANDA!"  That just wasn't me ... I was ashamed at the damage I was doing to the environment with the behemoth.

Fast forward 18 months.  David no longer has a company car.  We're in the market for a new vehicle.  After checking out all the dents in the Yukon, David decides that we really need a minivan again.  We bought a 2006 Honda Odyssey, which I love love love.  It drives like a sports car, very tight turning radius.  Low to the ground ... I no longer need a catapult to get Melanie into her car seat.  The automatic sliding doors are ... just too cool for words.

So what?  I have kids!  I am a (fingers making the quotation marks) MOM.    Should I stick with a (more quotation marks) cool car just because it's cool?  or should I have a vehicle that is functional and easy to load up and operate?  And that gets good gas mileage? 

So come over to the bright side, people!  Minivans are not Darth Vader reincarnate.  They are the vehicles that we use to shuttle the future around.  Is there any shame in that?  I think not.

**Editor's Note:  I should mention that the Yukon is now David's truck.  It is a manly type mode of transportation better suited to him than to me.  It is, however, a blessing on long road trips due to its cavernous luggage space.  I have been known to drive it from time to time, including part of the trip from Mississippi when we were pulling Colin's new car on a trailer.  Through Atlanta, no less! 


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1 comment:

palmerjo2001 said...

hey! this is gingajoy--thanks for your nice comment:) I want to add that I am WITH you. I dream of a minivan and have blogged about it several times--that i am not ashamed.  We are probably getting one this year, and I will write a jubilant post to say so;-)