You may recall that before Linus was born I swallowed my pride and bought a station wagon. My thinking was a station wagon would provide extra space for all the things a baby requires while traveling, without being a minivan. I understand on some level that I am not a cool person. That anyone under a certain age looks at me as just another boring grown up. But I don’t always think of myself that way. Most of the time I think of myself as way cooler than most 39 year olds. I mean, I stayed up past 10:30 at least six times last year. But if I bought a minivan I’d never look at myself the same way again. So I bought a station wagon, which is, obviously, much cooler than a minivan.
Problem is, our station wagon sucks. It is, without a doubt, one of the five worst cars of all time. Sure, there is some extra room in the back for pack-in-plays and toddler potty seats and all the other stuff we require when traveling these days. But the roof leaks, and it over heats, and the air conditioning takes forever to actually blow cold air, if it ever blows cold air at all, and the automatic locks do not work, and sometimes the manual locks do not work either, and the alarm goes off for unexplained reasons in very public and embarrassing places. And that’s only a few of the reasons this car, which I paid six thousand good dollars for, deserves to be crushed by one of those car crushing-machines you see in cartoons.
So we drove Tricia’s Camry home for Christmas, visiting my folks in Glencoe and hers in Pelham, and as I lamented trying to pack up all the boy’s new toys in the trunk of our small sedan, the minivan cult (my sister and Tricia’s sister) went to work on us. They both drive big shiny silver minivans, with vacuum cleaners and backup cameras and more knobs and buttons than the space shuttle. But it was watching the ease with which they packed up all their belongings and their children that got me, and driving home Christmas night, with our car so full of stuff that I couldn’t actually see my mirrors, or, for that matter, anyone else in the car, I said to Tricia, “We need a minivan.”
“We do not need a minivan,” Tricia said, because she never thinks we need anything new. She said we did not need a minivan despite the fact that she had nowhere to put her feet because the floorboard was full of gifts, and despite the fact that she was wearing every article of clothing she got for Christmas because there was no place left to pack them. And maybe she’s right. Maybe we don’t need a van. Maybe I’m just susceptible to cults. But I’ve crossed over, and in the coming months if you see us cruising down the road in a big sliver behemoth, just know we’re probably listening to some really cool music, like rap, or something.
Chad Gibbs resides in Auburn and is the author of “God & Football,” “Love Thy Rival” and “Jesus Without Borders.” To learn more about Gibbs’ projects and to purchase his books, visit www.chadgibbs.com.