Mobility and Mini-Vans

The right of passage into adulthood for many adults is the purchase of the 2 door coupe – speed and style combined for the maximum ‘cool’ factor. The most important decision is how fast can this go? Or, what color best fits my personality? 

Julie and I have always been strange. For me, that right of passage was the acquisition of an all season tent. For her, the right of passage was always the mini-van… I know, right?

We got our fuel efficient compact, hatch-back sedan years ago. It’s been a great car, and despite it’s small size, has been surprisingly spacious and exceptionally comfortable. But it was never that right of passage. In the last year or two of my working career, we began to look for another vehicle, particularly because for those years, I couldn’t seem to find work within commute distance of home: I’d leave town for work, and stay with family during the working week, and come home on weekends a. This left Julie trapped at home with the boys and no method of comfortable transportation. 

Now, I’d have been content with a little junker car (I wasn’t going to be driving it, after all), but with my decreased income (as my disability has increased, my pay decreased…) we were struggling to afford even that. My wife, of course, wanted a mini-van, being the final step toward being the quintessential homemaker. Mini-vans, sadly, are expensive.

As we looked, we realized that as long as I was making extreme commutes, the budget was not going to allow us the purchase of another vehicle. Do you believe in divine inspiration? I do. Julie felt inspired to ask for help, but that felt embarrassing to me, as needing help somehow showed that I was failing as a provider for my family (kind of a ridiculous emotional response, but it’s how I felt). So honoring me, but following through with her inspiration, Julie playfully posted on her Facebook wall something like “anyone have a vehicle they want to give us?”

It goes to show the power of inspiration, and the generous nature of good people that within 24 hours, she had been personally messaged by a childhood friend of my brother’s: he and his wife had literally just been discussion what to do with their vehicle once they replaced it with a much needed upgrade. You see, their AC was broken, making the exchange value lower than the work neccisary to actually exchange it. The had determined that they would give it to someone in need… And then we had asked for help, being in need. Coincidence? Maybe, but I’m not sure I believe in coincidence. 

It turned out that they couldn’t give up the vehicle until they had actually replaced it, but that was agreeable. Ironically, they goth wit to us within a week of my health failing so far that I couldn’t work: with me staying at home, and Julie working, however, the need for the second vehicle remained.

Because of the commute formJulie’s work, she continued to drive or little compact car. Ironically, it was a mini-van that we were given! Julie’s right of passage was finally here… And it was me that was driving it!

I was never quite one of those men who believe that driving a mini-van requires the surrendering of a man-card… But I wasn’t really pumped about giving up my comfy car.

I like to own ‘it,’ whatever that means. I’m disabled, so I’m the ‘Broken Dad,’ for example. So my boys and I dubbed the van the “dad-van” (complete with 60’s batman music: “na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na DAD VAN!”)

And I discovered the wonder of arm rests.

Now, as a side note, have you ever noticed the inordinate number of mini-vans in handicapped spots? You haven’t? Oh, you will now! (Evil laighter for making you notice something that you do t care about!) I understand why there are an inordinate amount of mini-vans among the disabled: they rock! Cars are notoriously difficult to get in and out of, one of the reasons I loved our car is that the seat is not difficult to get in or out of. The arm rests make them more comfortable for sitting in, particularly for those of us with lower back injuries: we can relieve the pressure from our backs by just putting my elbows on the arm rests and pushing down: really lovely. And, especially for those with walking aids, mini-vans give ease of loading, storage, and unloading.  Having a child still in a car seat means that I can kid him without having to bend over, which is worth it’s weight in gold.

I love putting Ezra’s bike in the back, with plenty of room for Nathanael’s and my tricycles: we can all go somewhere to ride without substanci burden. It’s beautiful! 
So what’s the point: The irony that after all the years of desiring a mini-can, Julie isn’t the one who’s driving it? Mini-vans are inherently awesome? My brother’s friend and his wife are amazingly generous? There is hope for the human race after all? When one is disabled, even little thin a like arm rests are awesome? No, none of these are the point, though all true; the point is simple enough: I’ve totally got ADHD and can write voluminous posts about anything.
Thanks for supporting me by reading them. 😀

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