Midlife Crisis Minivan Momma
Where've I been?
Well, there was the Woven Tale Press to get out; catching catchless cats for flea blaths and flea-bombing at Gramma’s house; Target back-to-school shopping; fleas to bomb at my own house caught by Pup from Gramma’s house.
All tales of their own. Which I haven't had time for due to excessive daily vacuuming.
But then there’s my minivan.
The classic mommy van, now ten years old, that, once it hit 100,000 miles, got sick.
First it was air-conditioning hoses. Then steering wheel whatchamacallit. Then some belt thing, plus some other big engine part thing. I don’t know the names for all these “things,” but I do know their foul four-digit price tags.
And now this: the transmission.
My mechanic, who’s begun to feel more like my primary care physician, always tries to comfort me: “Oh, this is typical of Hondas once they hit 100,000, the transmissions are shot.”
As if he were talking about mere arthritis. That a simple over-the-counter bottle of Tylenol for Arthritis could remedy. One without a $2600 price tag.
And guess what? Transmissions have to be “rebuilt” at some transmission special place which meant more price tags: 3-4 days of rental-car fees.
But which meant this baby:
Ok, not exactly the racy-striped sports cars parked in the Enterprise lot which the nice Enterprise fresh-out-of college rep girl quickly said were not available in my discounted $34 price range.
But she did have some nice low-budge red cars....
“What do you drive now?” she asked.
I liked that maybe I didn’t actually look like a mother. “A minivan.”
“Oh.” Her eyes glazed over. As if I were her mother. And she wished she had her phone with her so she could text her cool friends about how she was with her uncool mother right now, as I was dragging her off to visit some old great-uncle in a nursing home.
Then she said, “We have a silver car that just came back, too...”
I was insulted. Yes, my own “silver” roots clearly needed touching up but that didn’t mean I need to drive silver...
So of the red cars, I chose the most brilliant red – not barn-red. Racy-hot red.
My husband was aghast. “You’re driving a red car? People who drive red cars or more apt to speed. And get tickets.”
He knows how I drive – not like him. Who can easily turn a three-hour vacation drive into four by sticking to the slow lane, patiently tailing behind rickety junk trucks carting old mattresses and bike wheels. Until I offer to “relieve” him, once the boys’ iPad batteries have died, so I can risk 80 in the fast lane.
And if the boys start kicking each other, yes. I confess. I might risk dangerous zig-zags in and out between junk trucks.
Getting into racy-red car, I dropped down into the driver’s seat as my 95-year-old mother does trying to lower herself into my much higher minivan seats – anciently. It’s been a long time since I’ve driven anything so low to the ground, not since demonstrating to my preschool boys how to ride a tricycle.
Any hoot, after the glazed-eyed girl showed me how to work the air-conditioner and radio dials, as if I hadn’t ever even driven an actual automobile just some old mule, she handed me the keys to my racy-red hot car.
I pulled out into the expressway. The fast lane. And yes. I started to zig-zag. Because though not a real sports car, this red-racy car was suiting this midlife crisis mom just fine.
Especially when I stopped at a light, and a man in an actual sports car glanced my way.
I was trying to remember the last time any male had glanced my way at a red light while driving my minivan.
Driving hot racy-red car, I was transformed. I was not a minivan mom. As I had not been a texting-mac-n-cheese mom on my BlogHer escapade.
I was racy-red-hot-car-driver woman wishing to blast George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex” because this car had full surround sound. (The back speakers actually worked unlike in ancient minivan.)
I picked up my boys from school in racy-red car.
“Cooool. Mom’s driving a race car!”
For a split second they looked at me differently. As if I weren’t actually showing my silver roots and still wearing mom clothes, wrinkled-whatever that was still clean, loads of laundry still awaiting.
The next couple of days, I actually dressed as a non-texting-mac-n-cheese-and-non-minivan-mom might dress. As if instead of driving out to my mother’s for daily vacuuming after de-fleaing, I had a happy-hour date for martinis and steamed mussel appetizers at some breezy beach bar.
And yes. Don’t tell Hubby. I speeded. I risked tickets. In my racy car.
Until I got the call from the auto shop. A day earlier than I expected. My minivan was ready.
Lucky me. I hung up the phone, instantly feeling drab. The dog was scratching. After I’d even done my daily flea vacuuming in my own house....I wanted a martini right there and then.
But I had to drive my racy-red car one last time, back to the rental place.
And Enterprise is so nice, they give you free rides to auto place to pick-up beat-up old minivan with brand new transmission. Yay.
And guess who drove me, and in the red-racy car no less: Blond glazed-eye someone’s-daughter girl.
She had her phone this time, and it was beeping every ten seconds, most likely from all her cool girlfriends or current Grand-Theft-Auto-gaming boyfriend.
She’d pulled her beach-blond hair to one side so it cascaded down one shoulder. I was demoted to the passenger side, feeling as crumpled and shrunken as my own ancient mother in my own minivan passenger seat on doctor trips.
We stopped at red lights. Men not only in sports cars but UPS trucks looked her way.
It was a long enough drive that we had to make polite conversation, as she zig-zagged in and out of traffic with remarkable ease. The most natural point of reference would be broken-down cars, so she told me about the old jeep her “Dad” had given her but she wanted to sell, since she was moving to the city.
And how perfect! She already will have a job waiting there once she and her “girlfriend” find the perfect apartment, because Enterprise will just transfer her to a city office. “And if I need a car or something, I can just rent and get a 50% discount!”
We laughed at how stupid it was that her “Mom and Dad” wanted her to keep the old jeep when she can get that discount, and for one second I felt like a 20–something peer, although when my own phone beeps, it’s most likely my my mother’s aides texting that, despite flea bombing and daily vacuuming, she still has fleas.
“I’m so excited, just to get to go out every weekend in the city, Yeeaaah, it’s going to be so cooool....”
I had lived in the city for 20 years, I told her, which made me feel even more ancient, as ancient as my own “ancient awesome” mother, as my son had written on her 95th birthday card. Because those 20 years are now a good 12 years ago, and I just turned 50 and have many silver hairs, and her hair is still I bet, however bleached, a natural blond.
The drive began to seem endless as I began to deflate; her endless jabbering and “Yeeaaaah”s for yes, made me glad I didn’t have girls. With each red light, I was appreciating more my boys with their still-spindly legs and practical comments of “Why do girls wear lipstick, it just comes off anyway...”
We pulled into the auto place where my comforting mechanic greeted me, and after thanking bleach-blond young girl for ride, I shut door of red racy car – as she quickly now was checking all her texts.
After putting astronomical foul four-digit fee on my Visa, I crawled back into my minivan where I belong.
But maybe it’s time for a new one.
In hot racy red.