Of all the things I thought I would be when I grew up — high seas pirate, roadie for Meat Loaf and beer truck driver were atop my list of aspirations — the one thing I never thought I’d end up being was a soccer mom.
Not that I didn’t have the soccer part down, mind you. Having spent my entire childhood getting dragged to my brothers’ and sisters’ soccer games, coupled with an adult life covering soccer games for the newspaper has definitely afforded me the opportunity to see more soccer matches than the average American.
I never much thought I was cut out for motherhood, however. For starters, my low pain threshold never would have gotten me through the birthing process. I’m not sure it would have gotten past the part where they stick the IV in your hand, truth be told. Also, I’ve never much been the nurturing type.
All that aside, however, I’ve spent the last week living the life of a stereotypical soccer mom.
I’ve been driving a minivan.
Late last week, my vehicle — which once was a respectable, well-running piece of a machinery, but at some point in the past 13 years has turned into a rusty jalopy making a slow, expensive death march to the grave — had a major malfunction (it stopped dead in the middle of me driving down the road.)
Because I cannot afford a new car, that meant my vehicle had to go into the shop for some major mechanical work (which is kind of like saying the pyramids of Giza were a “major construction project”). While my car has been in the shop all week, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of driving my wife’s minivan.
You know, getting married and having kids has been a pretty lengthy series of emasculations — from watching “chick flicks” on weekends to taking my daughter to ballet practice — but I always thought I would be able to avoid the final death blow to my ego and never have to drive a minivan.
For the first 14 years of my marriage, it was pretty easy to avoid the minivan problem — mostly because we didn’t actually own a minivan. About two years ago, however, when my wife’s car finally took its last gasp at life, she decided it was time to purchase a minivan. The only reason I can figure she would ever do this is because, quite frankly, she has no taste (I mean, just look at who she married).
No, but seriously, she apparently always has wanted a minivan … which I never quite understood considering: 1) She works in Dayton and has to drive it back and forth to work by herself five days a week and 2) Even when she uses it to transport our whole family places, there’s seven seats and only four of us.
The only thing I could figure was she wanted to cart around loads of kids and be a bona fide soccer mom, Except, of course, for the fact neither of our kids play soccer. And when members of one of Sophie’s non-soccer teams need transporting, I’m usually the one doing it in my car (when it’s not in the throes of death), which theoretically seats four, but is usually so filled with garbage (haven’t cleaned it since I bought it in 2004) and pretty much only seats one person (me) comfortably.
All that aside, however, with no other options readily available, I spent the past week driving the dreaded minivan. And, after a week’s worth of being Captain Minivan, I have to say … it wasn’t all bad. It is pretty roomy, which — for a larger person such as myself — meant a certain level of comfort that my car does not provide. It was also kind of nice to have things like heat and windshield wipers that actually work (my car really is awful).
Also, best of all, with only one car in the family, I have spent the last week driving my wife to work in the morning and picking her up in the evening. It’s been kind of nice getting 30 minutes of alone time to talk to her all by ourselves — a luxury we aren’t always afforded during the week.
We’ve spent the past week talking about all sorts of important things — or hopes and dreams for the future, our love for one another and, most important of all, the fact my next car should be a Ferrari.
I am, of course, kidding about one part of that … we never talk about the future.
Troy’s very own David Fong appears on Thursdays in the Troy Daily News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong.