The New Car
Here it is. It is a 2003 Honda Odyssey EX. The color is called “Sandstone Metallic,” which is Honda’s way of trying to avoid the word “beige,” and sure, if it makes them happy, fine, whatever. However, I know it is beige and will thus refer to it that way. There were other minivans that we looked at, and we could have picked up a Windstar or a Venture for somewhat less. But the Odyssey is generally regarded as the best minivan out there, and being a Honda, it fits well with our stated vehicular philosophy of “drive it for decades.” And we did get a good deal, what with it being the end of the model year and whatnot. So we’re happy with it. Actually, I’m happy with it. Krissy is, like, over the moon with it. She lobbied hard for the minivan, which is why we now have one instead of an Element or a Prius, in case you were wondering.
After I went and picked up the minivan this morning I drove over to her place of work and presented her with a soccer ball and said “Congratulations! You’re a soccer mom.”
With the purchase of a minivan, of course, comes the admission that our Days of Coolness are now officially behind us. We face this fact with nary a complaint; indeed, we have applied for the personalized plate “NOTCOOL” for our new mode of family transportation. Because, really, why fight it. Get Shorty notwithstanding, there is nothing cool about minivans, nor will there ever be. Minivans are relentlessly practical vehicles, and practical is the bitter enemy of cool. I suppose one could gamely try to advance the theory that practical is the new cool, but that is as likely to be successful as suggesting receding harlines are the new cool, or that adult obesity is the new cool. You can’t change the goalposts of cool just because you’ve been shoved off the field.
Anyway, I’m okay with no longer being cool because, honestly, I never was cool. No, no, I can admit it now. Let’s go to the record, here. Elementary school: Went to school with a teddy bear through the sixth grade (yes, really). Junior High: Dungeons and Dragons. Freshman year of high school: Five foot one, 80 pounds. Senior year of high school: Took dance instead of sports. College: Actually, I was moderately cool in college. BUT I attended the University of Chicago, so this is a case of the one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind. Today: I live in the country and write science fiction novels. Really, I don’t see how much clearer I need to make this. Just. Not. Cool.
Now, I recognize cool when I see it, which is useful when one is a film or music critic. Just today I was driving around — in my spankin’ brand-new minivan — listening to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and marveling at just how cool Karen O sounds blasting out of the speakers. But it does not follow that because I recognize cool, that I am cool thereby. Possibly the fact I’m blasting YYY in a minivan means I am the coolest minivan driver in Ohio. But then we’re back to the whole “one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind” thing again, aren’t we.
Krissy, on the other hand, was legitimately cool (it comes with the territory when one is in fact gob-smackingly gorgeous) and ironically enough, dead set against minivans when we were younger, to the point of demanding that if she ever became a person who wanted a minivan, that she should be taken out and shot. I have of course not done that; if I did so I’d never be able to find anything in the house. Also, and more to the point, Krissy’s concerns about coolness have taken a backseat to more practical issues of what she actually needs in life, and at this point in life, what she needs is something like a minivan.
Krissy was admirably angst-free about this realization; for her it was one of those “that was then and this is now” sort of things, which is why I was able to give her the soccer ball without getting the high holy crap kicked out of me. It’s also one of the reasons why, formally “cool” or not, my wife totally rocks.
Last note: Power sliding doors. You don’t realize how awesome they are until you have them. That’s all I’m going to say.
UPDATE: We’ve been informed that the plate “NOTCOOL” is indeed available for us to get. You can color me four different shades of Not Surprised.