Make Way for Minivan

27 Nov


There’s something unique and just downright unparalleled about driving a minivan through the heart of Boston during Friday night rush hour traffic. It is a humbling, urine-inducing, road rage inciting experience that will leave you craving chicken noodle soup and at least half a day of Seventh Heaven reruns.

I am now of the belief that driving a minivan takes more strength and stamina than listening to Elizabeth Hasselbeck speak on an episode of The View. It’s not for the faint of heart. Sure, minivans may be associated with sweet soccer moms and sticky-handed kids and family-friendly dogs…but I prefer to think of them as the badass bitch mobiles of the car world; they may look approachable, but will slap you around if you criticize their family or their new ombré hair extensions. They are complicated, multi-faceted beings.

When I decided that “minivans” were the best transport option for my a cappella’s road trip to Maine, I envisioned slick, silver, seven-person Land Rovers with high tech stereos and a forgotten pair of Kim Kardashian’s sunglasses in the glove compartment.

(Apparently, I had misconstrued the definition of “minivan.”)

You can imagine my disappointment when I picked up two clunky, white shoeboxes with wheels from the car rental service and did not find a pair of forgotten sunglasses in the glove compartment (and so had to settle on homemade sunglasses, which I crafted out of pipe cleaners, paper, and glue).

You can again imagine my disappointment when I realized that by volunteering to “drive one of the minivans,” I had volunteered myself to drive. A. Minivan.

And that’s why, you never volunteer for anything

As Kay and I got into our respective vans and proceeded to pick up the rest of our group, I attempted to perform a sign of the cross…which ended up looking more like a mix between a conservative Macarena and an aggressive bee swatting because my hands were shaking and I don’t know how to perform a sign of the cross. Luckily, Kay knew what I meant, which gave me some peace of mind.

I was honestly shocked when half of the group agreed to enter my vehicle. Actually, I kind of judged them for entering my vehicle. Had they no qualms about driving with someone who goes to restaurants, plans on ordering steak, panics when the waiter approaches, and so decides to order squash soup with a side of kernels instead? Who raised these girls to not be on constant alert for soup kernel offenders?

As we began to drive, my nerves started to calm a bit.

Hey, I can totally control this shoebox! I thought.

…And then we left the parking lot.

That’s when Boston and rush hour came into play.

Here’s a little fact about minivans: they are HUGE.

Here’s a little fact about Boston roads: they are meant for horse buggies.

Apparently, colonial road builders didn’t have innovation on the brain when they spaced out Boston’s roads. Not a single Zuckerberg Puritan thought to consider that one day, there might be shaky, over-caffeinated college drivers attempting to maneuver land-based spaceships, all with the end goal of spending a drunken evening of a cappella in Maine. Limited foresight, that’s what that was.

Also, thank God there weren’t any pedestrians on the street while we were trying to drive! That really would have made things difficult. Imagine if a group of seven confused looking women in stilettos tried to waddle in front of your van while you had a green light? Or, what if a group of bikers cut in front of you like an aggravated nanny at an ice cream stand in the middle of summer? That would really be difficult to maneuver around!

In fact, could we please get more pedestrians on the streets? Sometimes I feel like I live in upstate New York when I drive across Newbury Street. Oh, was that a cow? Was that a tumbleweed?


So that’s what I was dealing with.

Believe it or not, I hadn’t considered myself a Road Rager before this experience. Sure, I had yelled at cars before and I’d seen my dad show off a certain *phalange* to an aggressive trucker…but when my acca passengers asked me if I was “prone to road rage,” I scoffed and said “no, don’t worry! I preach pacifism”

But then:

“Oh, way to drive in front of me, turd mobile. GO EAT AN ANT HILL.”

“Don’t mind me over here, driving like a normal person. PLEASE, CONTINUE TO DRIVE LIKE THE CLUB FOOTED MENACE YOU’RE IMPERSONATING.”

“Sureee, just pass me on the right, you PANCAKE BATTER-EATING SON OF A DRAGON.”


And, my personal favorite (which I stole from my Dad):

“Where did you get your license, TOYS R US??!”

So yes. That is how I drive. Theatrically and expressively, like an ex-convict actress in an outdoor Shakespeare production who had bourbon for lunch.

When Emalie offered to take over the wheel for a bit in the event that I “needed a break,” I told her not to mistake my “demonstrations” for genuine terror, panic and anxiety.

To which she responded, “Yeah but, I’m anxious.”

After that, I decided that the best friendships hinge on compromise and the well being of both parties. So, I re-wrote my driving script to include a special dialogue for inter-minivan conversations.

To every minivan I saw, I said, “Why, good afternoon, fine, humble, prestigious van! Please, do pass!”

Diplomacy comprises chapter five of the Badass Bitch’s Guide to Her Badass Bitch Minivan. (Yes, I memorized the content of every chapter. That’s just the kind of student I am.) Hence my tempered language.

So, the next time you see a minivan trolling along downtown and want to criticize its driver, remember that a minivan driver’s toolbox is filled with anthills, pancake batter, ice cubes, and diplomacy.




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