For the past 20 (yikes!) years I’ve been the mom in a minivan. I’ve carted mud-caked soccer players, dripping wet swim teams, crabby sleep-deprived sleepover kids, marching bands, school science projects, entire college dorm rooms and all the food these assorted groups could order through a drive through window and inhale before they exited my van – which I’ve discovered is a fortune – which explains why I’ve only had two cars in twenty years.
So, when the second red caravan went kaput, I went searching for my next van. A mini SUV was the next car for me, I told my husband. I was used to sitting up high, surveying the world and all the other crazy drivers perched from atop my throne. But after an exhaustive search, okay, it wasn’t exactly exhausting, because frankly I find car shopping right up there with a vurp (Yes, this is in the dictionary) – slightly unpleasant and better if it’s short lived.
Car shopping doesn’t suit my purse-onality especially when I take my husband along whose purse-onality likes to ask lots of petty questions such as – “Is this the actual price or do I need new glasses?”
Here is a log of my actual car buying activity: Sit, sit, sit, look, look, look, talk, talk, talk, drive, drive, drive, avoid hitting other cars while driving, discuss, discuss, discuss, wonder if the break room has cookies, yawn, yawn, yawn, discuss, discuss, discuss. Look around for somebody to poke my eye out!
We were all set to negotiate the purchase of a mini SUV and I was all set to make a mad exit to the restroom, where I could easily shave off a half hour of negotiating time, when my husband pointed out a regular car. A sedan, I think they’re called. One with four doors instead of a massive sliding door and its own storage unit.
He suggested I drive it. And I decided to agree with my husband, which is very unusual, but I was in a good mood because I found cookies in the break room! So I drove it and to my surprise, I liked it. It felt kind of cool to be low to the ground, and when I shifted into gear, I felt like I was at the Indy – not on the raceway, but driving around the parking lot looking for a space that wasn’t next to a messy minivan.
To describe the ride in complex automobile terms, it was smooth, not bumpy. And although I wasn’t up high, I had lots of mirrors for viewing. Of course I was concerned about the space, because of all those kids, I explained to my husband. And he pointed out that we now had fewer kids to cart around. He was right. Two of my kids had cars of their own and my youngest was going to have to learn to squeeze, because I was buying this car!
This car was sleek, stylish and black. This was the new me! Sleek (after a few more pounds lost), stylish (after I replaced my mom wardrobe), black (okay, well, maybe not the black part).
At this stage of my life, I am ready for exciting new changes and this was the car to take me there! As I drove home in my new sedan, I can’t say for sure, but it seemed as if the other buyers were looking at me with a new kind of respect and admiration. Not that they don’t have respect for moms in minivans (oh that made me laugh).
When I got home, I opened the manual to read about my new car and there it was in bold, black print – the manufacturer’s description of the buyer for this car model – FOR THE MATURE DRIVER!
Wow, I wondered. Do I take this car back? I quickly decided the cookies weren’t worth the effort so I took out a black Sharpie and crossed it out. Take that you, you, ignorant car manufacturers! I showed them! Then I got in my stylish sedan and drove to the salon to dye my grays, and to the chiropractor to adjust my back, and then to the grocery store where I whipped into my parking space like an Indy car driver – not a racer, one of the valet parking attendants.
Thank you to Donetta, a patient, patient woman and excellent salesperson at Hyundai in Tinley Park, IL