Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Car

Cars.  Men see cars as an extension of themselves.  To women, cars are a form of transport. It's true.  If women had the same approach to cars as men do, do you think any woman would ever be spotted in a mini van?  What would that say about her?  "Yoo hoo! Look at me!  Yes, that's right, I have officially given up."  When was the last time you saw a woman in her driveway detailing her mini-van?  Who would ever pimp out a mini-van in the first place?

To her credit, my wife has never driven a mini-van. She drives a ten-year old Chevy Tahoe with well over a hundred thousand miles on it.  When new, the Tahoe was my car.  She drove the other well-known mom ride-a Volvo wagon. When young marrieds find out that they are expecting, they go out and buy the crib and the changing table and the Volvo wagon.  Who's going to leave the safety of their infant to chance?  No one, that's who.  So, they all go out and buy a Volvo.  If you don't drive your kid around in a Volvo, you tell the world that you are an irresponsible parent.  Volvo's focus on safety is one of the greatest marketing strategies of all time.  But I digress.

When our children reached school age and we got accepted into the very prestigious neighborhood carpool, the Volvo didn't cut it anymore.  We literally had to interview so that the established carpoolers could determine our worthiness.  The interviewers were not as concerned about the old vehicular manslaughter charge and the DUIs on my driving record as they were about the carrying capacity of Shannon's Volvo.  Even though the Volvo had lived up to its reputation for safety in allowing me to survive an incredibly scary highway collision with a deer in southwestern Virginia, it had to go.  So Shannon took over the Tahoe and I got myself something else to drive.
The Tahoe, though, was my pride and joy.  It was manly. It was roomy.   I don't have chairs in my house that are as comfortable as the driver's seat in the Tahoe. It was a mansion with a motor.  I kept it clean and parked way off in East Jesus at the mall so it wouldn't get dinged. I did all that I could to forestall its value erosion.  To my horror, Shannon and the carpool kids undid all of my preservation efforts in the space of a few weeks.  I was flabbergasted the first time I had to drive it after I had turned it over to her.    There was crap everywhere.  Food wrappers, shoes, water bottles, papers, lollipop sticks.  It looked like Chernobyl.

I had an anxiety attack. As a favor to her and to show my old ride some love,  I took the car immediately to the car wash for a full service wash and vacuum.  It took me a good hour to do the job.  It was a complete waste of time and money.  I'm not sure that Shannon even noticed.  The kids sure did, though.  Apparently the car was serving as some sort of ersatz mud room and now that I had cleaned everything out, the kids couldn't find their shoes, hidden candy, or sports equipment.  How was I supposed to know?

The Tahoe is now so decrepit that I suspect that if we parked it on the street with the windows down and the keys in the ignition, we'd get no takers. Shannon, finally, is making noise about getting a new car.  While the squalor in which she daily surrounds herself might finally have worn her down, I suspect that there is another reason.  My oldest son will turn 15 this summer and all of sudden this travesty on wheels looks like it will find new life.  It's the perfect first car for him. It's safe, it's old, it's beaten to hell and, best of all, he'll get no action in the backseat because it smells like a barnyard in there and no girl will spend one second more than necessary in it.
                                                                               This is not your first car Jack. 

So, faithful Tahoe, while you might soon lose your spot in the garage you'll always have a place in my heart.  Also, for the record I do not have any DUIs or vehicular manslaughter charges on my driving record. I took artistic license for the sake of humor.  It doesn't matter, though.  Kids are not allowed in my car.