If you have spent any time on this website, you may have read a previous article titled “An old friend.” It is a kindly review of a mini-van that has been with the family since late 1997. All three kids learned to drive in it and it has the marks to show for it. We have traveled all through the Midwest in it and beyond. Until now, the kids have affectionately called it “The Millenium Falcon.” Now in its senior years, I have renamed it “the creature.”
The creature currently has just under 148,000 miles on it. The air conditioning no longer works. The electric windows do not work either which makes for toasty days in the saddle. It has something new go wrong about everyday. I just got through dropping a new radiator in it only to find the fan does not work. It needs new tires which will probably reveal that it also requires suspension work. It is, in short, falling apart at the seams. It has been relegated to my sixteen mile daily commute to work and an occasional stop at the community garden. It is the very definition of a clunker. Oddly enough, it did not qualify for the much vaunted Government Cash for Clunkers program.
I have even banned the wife from being seen in the van either as driver or passenger. You see, the creature, in addition to its internal dilapidation, is the undisputed holder of the title “ugliest vehicle on the planet.” Well, the free world at least. I’ve seen the old East German Trabant and, IT IS uglier.
The paint is faded so badly that the top has the appearance of burnt bacon. The interior is stained and the fabric on the roof has come loose and sags down like an old man with a beer belly. It has bruise marks and scrapes on every corner. It is known to scare small children and frighten cats. Dogs refuse to do their business anywhere near it. Our homeowner’s association has even asked us to keep it inside of our garage in fear of its affect on resale values. The police refuse to stop us for any reason (probably out of pity). Indeed, its only redeeming value is it has long since been paid off and costs only my dignity to drive. I never did have much use for my dignity anyway and I NEVER have had to worry about the kids wanting to borrow the creature for a date.
Today, I was getting gas and saw (horrors!) its twin. I did and, let me tell you, it was deeply weird. Hopefully, that one resides in a different county than ours. Lord knows, one per county is enough.
So, what’s the point in all this about a beat up old van? Well, I really don’t know. I saw its twin today and it just came to me that I ought to say something. And I did.