I have broken the tenth commandment. However, it is not your ox or donkey that I covet.* It is your minivan.
Last Sunday, Karl and I had the rare opportunity to bookstore browse at Barnes & Noble sans kids. We were walking from our car to the store when I asked Karl if he could hold my purse while I put my jacket on. Mid-dress, my eye caught one of the minivans I covet. Excitedly, I veered over toward the vehicle and began peering through the window. I chattily said to Karl that I noticed this particular minivan didn’t have leather seats, but it did have three rows and would seat eight people. I cooed that the captains chairs folded down easily and it looked like even the middle row windows rolled down. This minivan didn’t have the tinted windows that normally come standard, which I thought was unique (maybe you don’t need tint in Seattle), and commented that I would definitely want tinted windows so the kids could see their DVD players better. I glanced up waiting for Karl’s response but he wasn’t there. He had kept on walking, while carrying my purse! When I finally caught up to him, he said would rather be caught carrying a woman’s large handbag than be caught peering into someone else’s vehicle voyeuristically.
Now, I realize the minivan has a negative stigma. Tom Voelk, videoing a Driven: Car Review for The New York Times acknowledges that when it comes to minivans, you either “love them or loathe them.” And, a Cars.com video review of the 2014 Honda Odyssey commented in regards to the vehicle’s body redesign that, “There’s not an auto designer on earth that’s going to fool anyone into thinking they’re not driving a minivan.” Even Toyota cleverly advertised its ride as the “Swagger Wagon” in order to give it street cred. In fact, it’s hard to find a video review that does not comment on the idea that no one really wants to drive a minivan.
I disagree. I want to drive a minivan. I make no apologies for the fact that I want a comfortable vehicle that is large enough to carry everything we need for a road trip. I am not sorry that I long to have a car big enough that I might volunteer to give Lucy and Peter’s friends rides. I am not ashamed to admit that I want a minivan so that Lucy won’t get carsick as easily. And I do not deny that I want leather interior so that when my child inevitably throws up in the car, it makes for an easy clean up.
Voelk admits, “Minivans are unmatched when it comes to making life with children easier.” So, if the fact remains that a minivan is functionally the best vehicle for families, why is there such a negative stigma to driving one? Is it because they don’t look right? Is it because they’re not cool? Who said so?
I had a minivan once, for about four years. We had bought it used, and unfortunately, I wrecked it in a snow storm in Colorado. Then, I dented the door so badly one time pulling out from underneath Shauna’s carport, that we finally had to sell it for pennies. But, I remember one time, right after we first got it, I was going up to the mountains with a single friend and volunteered to drive. She responded, “I’ll drive, I don’t want to be seen in a minivan.” Of course, I conceded, because like everyone else, I felt ashamed for driving a minivan. And yet, now, I look back and realize that what I didn’t have words for was that I was being shamed for what I needed. Peter had just been born, and Lucy was two years old. I needed a vehicle that was easy to get car seats in and out of, that grandparents could ride in when they came out to visit, that had leather interior that made it easy to clean up everything from spit-up to Goldfish crackers, that had speakers that could be turned down in the back when the kids fell asleep on the way home from the zoo, that had sliding doors so that when Lucy was old enough to get out of the car herself, she wouldn’t open her door and bang the car parked next to us. Man! I miss that minivan!
I would like to spend time with my family camping or on road trips. I would like to offer to pick up several of Lucy’s friends for her tenth birthday party in April. I would like to pick up that couch from IKEA that converts to a pull-out bed to make snuggle time and wrestling time that happens on Friday nights even more cozy. I would like all of these things and I know a minivan would help. I, Krista Law, declare that I covet a minivan. I make no apologies for it. (However, I can apologize coveting your minivan).
*Exodus 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”