The garage door track could have shaken loose from the ceiling again. Let’s punch in the remote code two, neigh, three more times to be sure.
Whrrrrrr — CHUNK. Whrr — CHUNK-CHUNK.
No. I had left the minivan tailgate open while it was inside the closed garage. Now the arm extending from the roller chain to the door was welded into the gate. Frickity frick on a frickin’ stick!
It was the first true damage done to the Honda Odyssey since we purchased it on Memorial Day weekend 2006. A VFW Hall fills with laughter at the thought.
This shouldn’t have upset me. After all, when My Love first broached minivan-ness in 2003, I applied some classic guy defense logic:
“I’m not driving that big frickin’ tub 50 miles up and down the tollway into downtown to work every day. You’re minivan ga-ga because every baby-totin’ couple we meet on vacation had one. You want it so bad, dump that crappy Ford Explorer that bounces over every ant it hits in the road and drive it yourself!”
This surprised even me. Not because I’m above giving the wife an undeserved tongue-lashing because, shamefully, I’m not. It’s because — shhh — I’m a car pansy.
I know how to drive one. I maintain proper tire inflation, oil changes schedules and fluid levels. Having experienced it three times now, I can also instantly deduce the reason we have suddenly lost power while do 70 on the highway is because the timing belt has snapped.
Aaaaaaand that’s all I got. As I told my 6-year-old son once, wearing the knees out of your pants from playing with Hot Wheels does not translate into a working knowledge of real automobiles when you are older. Hell, I never even aspired to drive a monster truck. Not once.
My minivan opposition, I now conclude, was solely because of the symbolic crumbling of the last bit of manly façade I had left … outside of the three-day stubble, beer-induced love handles and overcompensating size of my CD collection, natch.
Then Mark explained it all to me. Mark is the male half of one of the baby-toters. He’s known for annually jumping off the second-floor balcony of the rental and into the pool. He also managed to father one child born in January and another in December. Of the same year. His wife and her naughty bits still haven’t forgiven him.
I confessed my fear to Mark. My old Accord was nearing 200,000 miles and some recent steering issues, while giving the kids a thrill ride far more enjoyable than the last rollercoaster I suckered them onto, gave me some concerns.
“Dude, nothing is more manly than the minivan,” he said, as he gave me the tour of his Odyssey. “It’s huge. Look at the room, especially when you fold down the seats. What’s says ‘man’ more than having all this room to haul stuff!”
He showed me the navigation system. The moonroof. The rear-seat entertainment system for the kids. The factory installed satellite radio. We talked four-wheel ABS, variable valve timing, multi-point fuel injection, power-slide doors.
Dang. I had a woody … and I was taking it to Surf City where there are two girls for every guy. Yeeeaaah.
(Later I learned Mark failed to disclose that his wife was the prime driver of the mini. He has a convertible.)
So here it is, two years later, and I’m looking at the God-awful gouge I had just created in the tailgate.
This is a pretty good car. Crappy going up the slightest incline in the faintest dusting of snow, but overall a pretty good car. Keeps the Things entertained in their car seats for hours with Radio Disney or the 67th viewing of “School of Rock” blaring in the wireless headphones. Holds the dog crate so you can insert the big yellow dog within, then place bags of edibles (chips, panties, you know) safely next to said dog. It’s also great to transport your drunken buddies to and from major sporting events.
I fingered the jagged metal edge that I had created through my absent-mindedness.
I cursed my stupidity.
I swore at some unseen deity.
I cranked the AC/DC and started working on a real good cover story for later.