The Minivan: A Tale of Pregnancy & Long Lost CoolSerge Bielanko
Right when my wife became pregnant a few months ago, she started talking a lot about minivans and how perfect they are when you have three kids and blah-blah-blah.
I frowned. I snarled. I pretended not to hear her, that the insides of my earholes were immune to such goofball talk as she was spouting.
But deep down in my man guts I recognized the sight of that slowly setting sun. Basically, she was telling me that we were getting one.
Believe me, I wanted to just shoot down the idea outright; trust me when I tell you that I came very close. Luckily for me though, I noticed that there were times when she started riffing about minivans, saying stuff like, ‘All that room in the back!‘ and asking me things like, ‘Remember when we had one that time when the Honda was in the shop and how much we loved it?‘
Her eyes would light up and she seemed almost medicated, or something, and I knew that to stand in her way at that point would only mean a very short battle followed by a pregnant woman parading around the neighborhood waving my head around (eyeballs bulging/tongue slightly out) up on a long pole. And that’s not what I need, if you know what I mean.
So, I offered up some very light resistance in the name of all that is even remotely hip before I just backed down and watched this roaring flood of weirdness sweep away the woman I shared my life with.
Dammit, I thought to myself. She has a point, of course. Three little kids is a lot different than two when you start thinking about hauling their tiny asses around in the car. And out of the two vehicles we had, only one, the Honda Pilot, was even in the running for the gig. The other one is too old and small to handle the job.
The most maligned vehicle in cool guy history?
Look, I know I don’t have much street cred left or whatever, but c’mon. Imagine seeing a picture of Keith Richards sitting in the driver’s seat of a stupid minivan. You can’t, huh? And that should really be the litmus test don’t you think? If Keith wouldn’t be caught dead in the damn thing than why should any regular Joe Schmoe Dad guy ever want to be, right? We’re already having to watch our old cool slide off of us like lawn mower dust in the shower. Why the hell should we have to jab ourselves in our own fading hipster hearts with the minivan stake?
I tried staring at the backseat of the Honda and picturing three kids spread across it. Yeah, it would be a little tight, but I have friends who have the exact vehicle as us and their three ride back there just fine. I didn’t say that to my wife though. I had seen her staring off at the horizon when she was talking about the automatic sliding side door and the possibility of individual TV monitors in the headrests and crap like that.
Alone out in our driveway one summer evening not long ago, I leaned on the Pilot and listened to the pipes of a Harley-Davidson off in the distance, tearing up the road in a thunderous cloud of sex appeal and never-ending possibility.
I punched myself in the face.
Then I swear, dude, I heard a voice come out of the trees. Or down off the mountain, I’m not sure where it came from, but it was deep and serious.
I shook and looked around.
“Ummm….hello?” I said, meekly.
“Hello Yourself, little man! I have been watching you and I know that you are trying to find a way to shift the winds of inevitable change and age, but I am warning you…YOU ARE PLAYING WITH FIRE!”
I peed my pants a little, I’m not gonna lie. I looked all around but there was no one there.
“Uhhh…Mr..umm…Mr. Voice? Do you think that it’s possible to have a minivan for my kids and all AND still be a little cool?!”
There was a pause, a moment of long silence. And then, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! No, you silly, simple peon, of course it isn’t possible, but who cares? You aren’t cool, you sensational dork! You haven’t been cool since Culture Club was on the speakers at the roller rink (THOSE WERE THE DAYS!) So, get yourself together and do the right thing for your young, decent family and for your sweet, pregnant wife and get a big fat minivan, you selfish has-been!”
My teeth were mashing and my heart was exploding and I ran back into the house and ran up the stairs and into my wife’s room, all of my convictions and my beliefs shaken on their foundations by this booming voice from the sky! A minivan it would be!
I ran into the bedroom to tell my wife the news, that I had I had a change of heart and that I saw the light now! She was standing at an upstairs open window with an empty paper towel roll in her hand, still looking down at the driveway.
I stared at her from behind, my pregnant soul mate.
And far off in the distance, I heard the unmistakable cackle of Keith Richards laughing his laugh of never-ending coolness.
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