Somewhere, buried deep in the Federal Civil Code, there is a statute that says, "Upon the arrival of any child subsequent to the first, all U.S. citizen family units must purchase a minivan."
At least, that must have been what we were thinking, because when our five-year-old was born we bought a minivan. At the time, it seemed like a must-have: we were four now, a real family, and the old Saturn station wagon just wouldn't do. We needed Space. We needed Cup Holders. We needed a fold-down back seat and doors that would open and close with the touch of a button. All this, and more, we got.
Now that 2001 Dodge Caravan seems like a dented two-ton tin can on wheels. It takes $50 to fill the sucker up, and every time I pull out on the road I look in my rear view mirror at at least three empty seats and think about the hole in the ozone layer they are going to name just for us. All that space hasn't done us any good; my two girls each have their own Captain's Chair (that's what the brochure called it) and still they fight like two cats in a sack.
Did I mention that it weighs two tons? This fact took a long time to percolate into my forebrain and before it did, I had managed to sideswipe one car, back into another car, take out a pole at the post office, run down a gas pump and back into somebody's mail box. State Farm dropped me. The mail box dent is still there because at this point I can't afford to file any more claims and the $800 it would take the fix the door just ain't worth it. It's proved useful, in a way: there are so many silver minivans in the world that on some days the dent is the only way I can find my car in the goddamn parking lot. The dent identifies it--that, and the "It's Up to the Women--Vote Kerry/Edwards!" bumper sticker. (Yeah, that really worked, didn't it?)
People with three kids probably need a minivan. People with two kids, like me, should be locked up for even thinking about buying a vehicle the size of a Dempsey Dumpster just to go to the Safeway.
So here it is, folks--an authenthic Suburban Mommobile. Make me an offer. 64,000 miles, new tires, has had regular oil changes and comes with an interesting smell in the back seat I have never been able to identify. I'll throw in a ten percent discount if you take the two hellions in the middle section, too.