I’ve driven a minivan for over twenty years - different makes, various colors, but a minivan nonetheless. I’ve hauled countless groceries, boys to soccer, boys to basketball, flea market treasures, boys to baseball, boys to cross country, home improvement materials, boys to art school, boys to college, boys to ….. ok - you get the idea. I’ve loved every trip, every mile spent making memories with those boys, but when our latest van needed repairs that would cost more than what it was actually worth, we decided it was time to get something else. (By "we" I mean "I" and then a bit of time was spent convincing my husband, since I'm the one driving it most of the time, to get a car instead of a van.)
Last Saturday we drove off the Dealer’s lot with an Alien Green Kia Soul. For those of you wondering, “No, it was not a leftover that nobody wanted; I actually chose the color” and, I named him Gus. Not the mule Gus, from the 1970’s Disney movie that my oldest brother asked me about, but it's named after the sweet little mouse from "Cinderella". (If you recall, Gus wore a little green shirt. I still wonder now and then why those mice never wore pants.) (I also wondered if my brother wasn’t hinting at my “stubborn streak” when he questioned about the mule ...thus the reason I used the word "oldest" brother instead of "older" because that's what he is...old(est). Sorry, I got off track there for a minute. :)
Anyway...This car was chosen for several reasons: its fuel economy, the ability to put the seats down and still haul things when needed, and the audio system. For those of you who don’t know, I like music – I mean, REALLY LIKE music. I sing at the top of my lungs sometimes and alone in a vehicle is the best way to do that without having people stare at me. Gus has six speakers, including two dash-mounted tweeters. I’m still trying to figure out what a “tweeter” is, but I can tell you that the music sounds great and I’ve realized the need to turn it down prior to entering a populated area.
From the dealership, we drove to a store and upon returning with our purchases, noticed that the driver’s side back bumper had either been hit with a shopping cart or scraped by another vehicle. I stood there, staring but saying nothing. This car had less than 12 miles on it, we owned it for maybe an hour and a half, and someone had already caused paint loss down to the metal. I looked at my husband and just shook my head. His, “You’ve got to be kidding me,” said it all. At that moment I had a choice - Did I allow my disbelief to turn into anger and escalate into a full-blown temper tantrum or did I recognize that there was nothing I could do about it and make plans to call about getting it fixed? I chose the latter. I made that choice for two reasons… One - my anger would not only get me all out of sorts, but would cause those with me to become angry also, and Two - anger would not miraculously fix the damage; when I was done being angry, I would still have to get it fixed. Over the years it seems our family has some kind of invisible “target” on it – if it’s going to happen to someone, it will probably be one of us. You know the “get into the shortest line in the grocery store only to realize the person in front of you has tried three different credit cards and none work, so they begin writing a check.” The, “go through the drive-thru and get home to find that the burger your husband ordered has the bun and the fixin’s, but not the actual hamburger meat in the paper wrapping.” The, “order new furniture while pregnant and having to wait about 17 weeks instead of 3, and when it finally arrives it’s a beautiful off white instead of the brown color you paid for, and then you have to use full-size, blue blow-up furniture that your husband bought as a gag gift because you’re too big and can’t get up off the floor anymore when you sit down, while you wait for the correct color to arrive because you're having your fourth boy and there is no way you can keep off white.” Or the “You’re sitting at a stoplight and the person driving a motorcycle coming towards you decides to pop a wheelie only to lose control, fall off, and you watch as the bike skids down the road hitting the side of your van.” Oh, my friend, I could go on and on! When any of these things happened, for the most part, our family has thankfully learned to take it in stride, just as we have with this most recent event. Gus has a couple of nicks but he runs, and he still has a great audio system.
Life happens. Each one of us has the choice to either throw the temper tantrum or realize there’s nothing we can do but sing our way through it. Whether it’s a heartbreaking tear-filled song, a favorite tune that warms your soul every time you hear it, or a “gotta sing this one at the top of your lungs” jam; I encourage you to sing; and should you ever pull up next to an alien green Kia Soul and the music's so loud you hear it even tho' the windows are closed, you can shake your head or you can sing along - but trust me when I tell you, it's so much better to sing along!