Friday, March 17, 2006
Minivans: The root of all evil
Let's get one thing straight. I hate minivans. Scratch that. Mom always said never say "hate". Alright, I DESPISE minivans! Since the minivan's inception back in 1983 (see picture) , the minivan world was a place that I never wanted to venture into unless the circumstances dictated such as carpooling. After all, being 9 years old with a negative opinion toward the vehicle that was taking you home from school activities would have made mom and dad cringe so I kept my opinion to myself for 20 years.
Here we are in 2006. I am a proud parent of an 8 month old son, my good friend from childhood will be a parent of twin girls in a few weeks, my other friend from college is a parent of twin girls, my other friend from college is a parent of 2 boys and I still DISPISE minivans! I want nothing to do with a vehicle that exists for the sole purpose of carting kids to and from soccer practice.
Twenty-three years have passed since their inception. I thought the minivan would be just a passing fad. Well, the fad has lasted two decades and counting. Thank goodness the wood-paneled look is now passe. Now, minivans come standard with keyless ignition, automatic sliding doors, personal climate control for each passenger and multiple DVD players built into the seatbacks. What's next, a robotic arm attached to the domelight that has the ability to smack kids who act up or an internet connection straight to McDonalds so your kids can order their Happy Meals without mom and dad driving through the drive-thru? Do you see why minivans are on my "I'll never buy if you held a gun to my head" list?
Oh wait, minivans are convenient and make life easier for moms and dads with kids. Sure, I got that. I come from a family with five kids where convenience is of the utmost importance. But if your definition of "easier life" means turning your kids into sissies then yes, by all means, swing down to your local minivan dealership, drop down $30,000 and drive away in estasy.
Here's a conversation flashback from my childhood:
"Roll down the window!"
That dialogue must have volleyed back and forth between me and my dad a hundred times on family car rides between 1978 and 1993. Rolling down the windows or putting your jacket back on was the climate control system that I grew up with riding in the backseat of our family station wagon and conversion van. If I was lucky, the FM radio, add-on my dad installed might pick up some faint top-40 stations if we were pointed in the right direction. Otherwise, it was 40 minutes of "99 bottles-of-beer-on-the-wall" to and from grandma's house. And no I didn't walk to school uphill both ways in 3 feet of snow.
Before you verbally barrage me with your "your so insensitive; get with the times" cracks, let me tell you a story. My dear friend at colonelt.com is trading in his 2000 Mustang. You see, he's giving up his "baby" for his future "babies". For a man, its hard to give up his vehicle. Its his life blood. The vehicle becomes an extension of himself. Its like cutting off an arm or a leg. Without hesitation, the Colonel made this huge leap and will be trading in his Ford Mustang for betterment and convenience for his future family. After all, the logistics of having two car seats in the back of a car like that just doesn't work. Props go out to the Colonel for making the right choice.
He is trading it in for a MINIVAN! He might as well just drive his Mustang in a demolishion derby. Why not a family sedan? Why not an SUV? Some cost even less than minivans which are grossly overpriced as it is. Very soon, I hope to get some insight from the Colonel and his wife on their decision making process so as to get a better idea of why they are going the minivan route. (aside from the convenience element).
Regardless, I will never be down with the whole minivan craze. By today's standards, minivans and kids go hand and hand. Its hard finding a family that doesn't have one of these transports. I, however, plan on bucking that trend. At some point, I will be carpooling kids to and from baseball practice or band practice but as sure as the sun rises in the east, you will not find me at the helm of a minivan anytime soon.