It is with dread and disappointment that many men my age contemplate the purchase of a minivan. I am not amongst their number. These men complain that the minivan is not cool and that it cuts into their masculine pride that turns ladies’ heads and makes men jealous. Yeah? Your Ford Focus turns ladies’ heads? I’m skeptical. They complain that it is a step away from owning a sweet sports car or tricked-out, jacked up Jeep…when in reality their best hope has always been a late 90s Mazda Miata or a pre-2008 Jeep with an automatic transmission.
Don’t get me wrong, I would love a late 90s Mazda Miata. I did the whole Jeep with an automatic transmission thing already, and while I would prefer a five-speed, I would not turn down the opportunity to ride with the top down and doors off again.
But here’s the thing. I have no interest in making ladies’ heads turn; Becky assures me that she can barely take her eyes off of me (she didn’t say if it was because of my irresistable good looks or if it is because I’m always on the verge of breaking something). I also have no interest in making men jealous. I want them to be my friends, not hangers-on or angry jealous types. And one more thing: I want to be comfortable when I travel with my family. I have two kids, two “medium” sized dogs and a wife who packs for a month when we go places like PCTC (two days in a hotel). For the last year, we’ve traveled in a Honda Civic, and before that we mostly traveled in a Ford Focus or occasionally a Jeep Wrangler (if we were expecting snow).
My dogs haven’t been on a trip with us since Christmas 2008. I haven’t been able to recline my seat to where I would like on a long trip since Ariella was born (October 2007). I have long legs, man, I wanna stretch!
So, money is always an issue, right, but Becky and I are saving. We’re saving and planning, and one day, hopefully one day not too far away, we’ll buy a minivan. Dude, I’m excited. Dizzy and Buddy can come to Pittsburgh with us and chase the fake duck my brother shoots out of a ridiculously loud .22 blanks pistol.
Maybe one day I’ll get another Jeep (it would be my third) or late model Miata and Becky will get her convertible Mini Cooper, but right now, we’re jazzed for the minivan.
So often, we find our value in what we have. If I don’t have a Jeep or a Miata or a Prius, I’m not any less cool, just as if I had them, I’m no more cool. And, truthfully, who cares if I look “cool.” I recently switched from my indie-rocker thick rimmed glasses to a rimless pair, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t worry about my image. I even asked Becky, “Am I still going to be punk rock?” Was I ever? I don’t know.
What a waste of time worrying about image is. Every moment I spend crafting an “image” is an investment in a false self. My true self should be visible. Sure, I have particular tastes that have been created through the music, movies and friends I’ve exposed myself to, and those tastes reflect in my look, but when it crosses from a byproduct of my actual tastes to a crafted image…well, it becomes a mask. My car is not part of my personality. The cars I’m drawn to are those that fall into my own tastes in appearances, but function will take precedence over form (hence the probably annoying excitement about one day getting a minivan).
I am not my car. I’m not my shirt, jeans or tattoos. I am what I do and how I act, and I hope that is someone who exudes encouragement, love, humbleness, comedy, generosity, etc.