As is known by at least half of the people I come into contact with every day, the’98 Buick Le Sabre, a lane-wide car requiring a 12-point-turn to head the other way and most of your paycheck to fill with gas has endured a number of procedures from a number of shade-tree mechanics.
And it still does not run.
This is not about that car.
Instead, I would like to take this time to pay homage to our replacement vehicle, Big Willie’s father’s conversion van, a means of transportation with less maneuverability and only slightly better mileage than Apollo 13.
Have you ever driven a ’92 Chevy Van?
It’s a living room on wheels, an upholstered monstrosity with room for 10 (15 if they’re friends), a fold-out bed, wood paneling, a TV.
A TV! I know!
And there’s a ladder up the back of it for you to climb if you want to strap your luggage to the roof.
As an aside, my friend Jenn, a short yet clever woman, grew up believing that at the top of the ladder on her father’s Chevy Van was a pool.
As of last weekend, wherein we crawled, beers in hand, in, over, and around the van, she has seen no reason to change that belief.
I learned to drive in a conversion van. The words “Check your mirrors! Check your mirrors!” are firmly embedded in the wrinkly grooves of my brain.
“I hear you! I hear you already!”
So of course my clipping the telephone pole in the alley the other day came as a complete surprise.
In my defense, that lousy van, with the added width of the side mirrors, is deceptively large. Luckily, the passenger-side-mirror, while making a terrific and sphincter-clenching noise, folded against the van exactly as it was designed to do.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s no Le Sabre. The van doesn’t seem to recognize the scent of a good garage sale, has a top speed of 62 miles an hour (when going downhill), and requires a gas-infusion every half-block.
Still, we are grateful for it; and should we find ourselves unable to pay the mortgage, we know we’ll have somewhere to stay.
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