Kids, No Chaser

The Heart of Darkness

Tuesday, July 24, 2007 posted by Henri

There are paths in this life that one should not wander down...dark unmarked paths. Sometimes we stumble upon them unwittingly and before we know it, we are deep in the underbrush, far from where we began. I have taken such a path and find myself far past the river’s delta, and am now in the heart of it all. I know now, far too late, this wicked course that I have embarked upon and have gone too far now to turn back. And so, I move forward; bracing myself for the inevitable conclusion to this journey. I am ready to stare into the face of madness. Hold its hand. Fall into its cavernous embrace. I know the evil which is my destiny and it whispers its name lovingly into my ear...

This is my tale. May it serve you in some way.

I grew up in a small town called Los Angeles California. And it was a place little understood by outsiders. It was the land of the automobile. It was a place where its citizens grace their freeways with the title “The”. The 405. The 5. The 101. A trait I thought commonplace until using it outside of my small village.

“Take the 580 to the 880…”
“You’re from LA”
“It’s take 580 to 880”
“Umm whatever”
“How do you like it up here?”
“I miss LA”
“I’m sure they’d be happy to have you back”
“Um whatever, shouldn’t you be shopping for more bumper stickers? Something about miracles or cats or impeachment or something?”

Why do people north of my small town spend so much time thinking about my small town and its inhabitants?

“Oh people from LA are [insert something mean and judgmental here, um usually about being self-centered or something like that]”

Why are you thinking about us? Stop it. We never think about you. Oh so back to me.

My first car is a Black 1989 Toyota Celica GT convertible. I say is because it is in my garage right now (to the utter disdain of my wife and the subject of many cruel jokes by her fellow Mom friends). This little car once did 120 down the 60. Only in the eyes of a naive 16 year old would this little beauty be seen as a sports car. I had the foresight of understanding its eventual importance to me so I refused to part with it. When they eventually build that museum commemorating my life, right next the golden statue of me holding the magic leprechaun surrounded by monkeys, I want the Celica.

So one moment I’m sixteen years old smoking Camels driving up the 101 listening to Psychic TV, and the next thing I’m standing in a Wal-mart parking lot, thirty-four years old, standing before an evil monstrosity of a vehicle but oddly unable to avert my eyes. And I hear its evil whispering call...Miiiiinivan. Miiiiiiiiinivan. Oh you cruel and evil Minivan you stole my youth. You have transformed me into a middle-aged workaholic.

It’s like that scene in the movies where the daughter tells her Dad that she’s getting married and all he can see is the little girl she was years ago. I was standing in a Wal-Mart parking lot walking past a minivan when I thought…hey that’s a cool minivan, and those thoughts, those evil thoughts, like a bone stuck in your throat, seized in my mind. And I stopped dead in my tracks and asked myself…what the hell did you just say? And that’s when I saw it…my life. Now I’ve said my goodbyes to youth already, but once again here I am reminiscing about the past and I could see the kid that I was in his little Toyota that he thought was so fast.

This minivan could beat my old Celica.

The argument can be made about nature vs. nurture. Was I simply born this way? A ticking minivan fan waiting to emerge in midlife? Or did marriage do this to me? Was I beaten into this state? It’s truly a sick perversion really. Any man can see the practical benefits of a minivan...cargo capacity, sliding doors, folding seats, birth control; but it takes a sick man, a twisted man to see…beauty. Off in the distance a small tune rises from a special place in Wyoming. This ain’t my car…it’s just my fishing buddy.

Damn, I think I like minivans.

You know denial is always the first stage. And looking back maybe I have been a bit Miniphobic.

“Get that damn Minivan away from my kids!!!”
“God hates Minivans!”
“I’ll never vote for a Minivan”

But slowly they kept creeping into my life. Friends of ours began buying them. Their cargo capacity exceeded my SUV. Their doors slide. All they need to do is design a SUV with sliding doors and an entire segment would evolve. I’d buy one in a heartbeat. What do they do instead? They make minivans without sliding doors and call it a Mercedes R class. This is retarded.

“Don’t call it a minivan”
“What, that minivan over there?”
“It’s not a minivan”
“Looks like one”
“It’s a Mercedes Touring Vehicle”
“…shaped like a minivan”
“It’s not a minivan”
“What about its shadow?”
“What about it?”
“It stole the shadow of some poor defenseless minivan”
“That is the shadow of an ergonomic multi-family touring class sedan”
“That’s the shadow of a Dodge Caravan”
“Look we do not have minivan doors.”
“Oh dear lord its worse than a minivan!”
“Stop it.”
“Kill it. Put it out of its misery”

SUV + Sliding passenger doors = Henri not owning a minivan.
Fate is cruel. Just stick a sliding door on a SUV. I mean you could totally market it as “gunship doors” or “bay loading” or “elite tactical passthrough europa perfora manipula” and people would buy it. Ok here’s the lay-down. Here are my simple needs:

1) Seat 8 passengers
2) Sliding Doors
3) Folding seats

Where on that list is…
4) Wonky Styling


Nowhere. It’s not on the list.


But now it doesn’t have to be because I am working past the denial and am ready to admit to myself that yes…I likey me some minivans. I like the style of the Honda Odyssey. Please…someone shoot me. Attack me with a tire iron on the side of the road. Get me to church. I need help.

You can’t stop my love. It’s not wrong.

OK so I have this odd attraction to the Honda Odyssey which defies understanding. If you ask me if this is an ugly horribly monstrosity of a car I would immediately reply yes. If you ask me if I still love it I will say yes. If you ask me why I will say…no friggin idea and then ask you to go ahead with the hitting-me-with-a-tire-iron-to-put-me-out-of-my-misery thing and then right before you deliver the blow I will still whisper…”my love’s not wrong”.

I feel dirty.

So I realize I am at this strange stage of discovering my previously unknown appreciation of the minivan. I can do two things…ignore it or give in to it.

So my perpetual style compass Peachboy and his lovely wife and kids….they own an Odyssey. My fellow Dad compound member and poker savant Fayedunaway and family, they own an Odyssey.

I’ve been working on building a fence lately…for like months actually…design redesign design redesign damn that is another can of worms I’ll get into one day….but anyway, I’ve been hauling a lot of redwood around in my SUV and I keep thinking about how much easier it would be in a minivan.

I'm trying to defend it aren't I? Ok I'll stop. It is what it is. I do not know how I got here. I can not retrace my steps to find the pivotal moment where I stepped onto this evil path that led me to this vehicle covered in Wrong Sauce.

I’m just trying to make sense of it all. Life and marriage and kids it’s all a mystery. Odd things happen. You gain weight, you lose your hair, you stop drinking every night, you learn about school districts, you change completely. I start liking minivans? Now I’ve seen it all. The absurdity of life is complete. This journey my friends, is unpredictable. I was warned about the whole turning into your father thing, I knew about the miracle of life births love unknown, I’ve navigated two nesting pregnant wife journeys, I’ve Ferbered. Where in heaven’s name did anyone mention Dads liking minivans? I’ve never heard of it. It’s absurd. It’s perverted. It’s downright evil.

Don’t judge me.

Just hit me. With that tire iron over there. I’ll be waiting here on the side of the road. Changing the tire on my Odyssey.

Of course it is.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post is just making me think of Van Halen, Why Can't This Be Love:

here it comes
that funny feeling again

Winding me up inside every time we touch.
I don't know
tell me where to begin

'Cause I never ever felt so much.
And I can't recall any love at all

oh baby
this blows them all away.

It's got what it takes
so tell me why can't this be love?"

You have to give in.

12:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I'd rather see my sister in a whore house than my brother in a minivan. C'mon, dude. Snap out of it! Do I need to fly 3,000 miles for a g-damn intervention? 'Cause I will, my brother. I will.

6:00 PM

Blogger Whit said...

I've live in LA, and have lived in Tucson and San Diego. We used "the" for freeways there as well.

I lived in Seattle and they didn't. It just sounded weird.

11:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, your love IS wrong, but I couldn't stop laughing about this insidious evil called "minivan".I was very close to getting a Toyota minivan (4 wheel drive is way manlier, was my justification, though the odyssey is less ugly than the toyota), until my boss tells me, "You know, you never want clients thinking you borrowed your wife's car". end of story.

6:27 PM

Blogger honglien123 said...

It's not just sliding doors. It's power sliding doors. I'm 29, I drive a minivan (Toyota Sienna). I am sadder than you.

4:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG, don't do it! Your love IS wrong. For the sake of mankind, don't get a . . . I can't even TYPE the word. *shiver*

and really:
1. do you want the guys at the office to think you're driving your wife's car?
2. want to admit to all on the 101 or the whatever that you have traded in your balls for a . . . again I can't even type the word *shiver*

angie in texas

5:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't you call us in our "midlife" ... that's just mean.


9:45 PM

Blogger Henri said...

Yo whoever wants to come talk me out it...I'll be more than happy to pick you up at the airport with 4 strippers, my sommelier, half a mariachi band, fayedunaway, two monkeys, and a more good times than you can shake a stick at in my kickassinous MINIVAN!!!!!!!

ok still haven't pulled the trigger yet.

8:52 PM


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