There is a great debate about mini-vans. On one side, passionate folks would rather be squished uncomfortably in designer shoeboxes or sport an SUV to provide space and style. On the other side, dispassionate folks, who find shoeboxes uncomfortable and SUV’s too elevated, accept a small bus as an adequate alternative.
I joined the “thumbs up for mini-vans” camp literally on a trip to Yosemite with my brothers. We borrowed my parents once-white Dodge Caravan, joined by my sister-in-law and close friend, and drove all the way from Utah to California with a floppy, twin sized foam mattress strapped on top.
We stayed in Camp 4. A camp popular with climbers and bears. Instead of “wash me”, we wrote “be beary careful” on dirt covered back windows. The Camp 4 parking lot burst at the curbs with mini-vans. Climbers are cool; climbers drive mini-vans. My paradigm shifted. I became a 29 year old, single, stylish woman who wanted a Plymouth Voyager for no other reason than to score a date with a tan seasonal employee.
A highlight of the trip: sitting at the summit of my only climb, thinking about my sleeping bag. The low point: my favorite umbrella-sized straw sun-hat getting eaten by squirrels. But ironically, the hat consumption was the highlight for my brothers – who felt the same irritation toward it as my husband used to feel about the Pontiac Trans Sport.
Jake wanted a mini-van. He really did. He just couldn’t admit it because if you admit it, it’s like admitting you’re about to die. He didn’t want to age 25 years all at once, especially with only one tiny son. However, once he realized we could fit the baby bike trailer in the back, game over. Parents cycling with a baby trailer is cool. His paradigm shifted.
Jake insisted that we call our new Honda Odyssey, The FUV [Fun Utility Vehicle]. Driving the FUV off the lot was more like a rite of passage, a ceremony that changed us. Somehow, we went from tolerating the utility of the vehicle to realizing its true beauty. Really seeing the FUV as an amazing, service oriented car with a gift. The gift of Fun, Family, and Finally I don’t have to crawl over that awful center consul to give my son a juice box.