It’s funny how much your vehicle reflects how you view yourself.
Is your car sleek and sexy? Then you think you are too.
Is it solid and reliable? That’s your perception of yourself.
My new car is gray and a whole lot bigger than it ought to be. Apparently that’s the new me.
I recently traded in my trusty sedan for a state-of-the-art minivan. You can rest assured I did it kicking and screaming.
We’ve had minivans in my family before. They were always my wife’s car. If she wanted (or needed) to drive a mom-mobile, more power to her. I’d drive it when we went places as a family on weekends, but I always felt like I was driving someone else’s car. She, too, grew driver of minivan life, trading out for something smaller a few years ago.
My car was the size and shape of my younger years, compact and maneuverable through whatever headed its way.
Circumstances change, though. The daycare for the two youngest girls entrusted to our family is in Lima, not so far from where I work. Basic math said we couldn’t fit into my wife’s not-quite-minivan that “only” seated six, as there were now seven of us.
For a variety of reasons — including trade-in values, brand loyalty and a basic rejection of anything remaining that makes me still feel young — we decided to trade in my sedan for something, oh, about 2 feet longer. To add insult to injury, I had to make this purchase solo, while my wife stayed home with most of the kids.
I did bring my 9-year-old daughter, who overheard my conversation with my wife about what our maximum price on the purchase would be. She proceeded to blurt that number out to the salesman when I questioned how much he could bring down the price, and he asked what range we’d hoped to pay. Fun fact: Our original number was mighty close to the list price.
Fortunately, her bit of helping didn’t affect my negotiating too much, and now I’m the not-too-proud owner of my own minivan.
Oh sure, I could try to brag about its powerful traction, its front-wheel drive or its powerful V-6 engine. Anyone who gets inside knows it was more about the dual sliding doors, easily movable seats and the DVD viewer in the back.
I envision support group meetings with other dads who are recent buyers of minivans: “I bought it for the kids, but I’m afraid to let them inside since I know they’ll make a mess.”
The dads would all nod in agreement, I’m sure.
I suspect it’s time for my vehicle to better reflect who I am, though: A devoted dad who realizes a minivan is just a vehicle to get his precious cargo where it needs to be.