SCIENCE & TECH EDITOR
gh school and probably even now, if you were not handed the keys to a new Mercedes when you first got your license, you were probably just like me, wishing you had been. Unfortunately, you were probably stuck behind the wheel of one of the family cars in the driveway or some old rust bucket your parents got you after you begged and pleaded for months. I just so happened to end up in the family vehicle myself. Normally this would not be such a bad thing; usually anyone who has to use the family car ends up in a gently used sedan or a decent looking SUV. However, for me, the family car happened to be the family minivan. That is right. To a place like high school where you are judged on the smallest things by immature youths, I would be driving this beautiful 2005 Honda Odyssey minivan every day. “Great” I thought, “just what I needed, girl repellent.” Of course, I know I was lucky to even have a car to drive, but a minivan, I thought, was surely as bad as it could get.
When you have to drive a minivan to school and you happen to be a guy, it is clear as day that you do not want to be spotted dead in or around this form of practical family transportation. God forbid you are seen by one the most attractive girls in your class while hopping out of your family’s van and you are guaranteed no shot at that prom date. Of course I could not just let this happen, that would be a tragedy. I began to wonder how I was going to get to school without this happening; I was determined to at all costs keep the van as secretive as humanly possible. The only people that knew of the van were a few of my closest friends and it was going to stay that way.
My first step of precaution was to make sure I got to school ridiculously early so no one could see me park, and to briskly walk away from the van like I had no clue it was there. There was one slight problem with this; my sisters. They were freshman when I was handed the keys and eventually began to catch on, asking why we were getting to school so early all of the time. Well, eventually I had to break the news to them that it was not really the “coolest” thing as a junior in high school to be pulling up in a mommy-mobile. They never really understood and complained constantly about getting to school early. But it was me or the bus, so they usually ended up in that van at 6:40 a.m. sharp.
Just as I would need to get to school early and unnoticed, I would obviously need to get out unseen too. That left one simple option: leave late. This was not as bad as the early morning drive because my sister or I would usually have athletics after school, so there was no need to come up with any excuses for this one. I would just make sure to get to the van before anyone saw, and would rocket out of that parking lot like Usain Bolt sprinting the 40-yard dash, with my sisters in the back seats screaming for dear life. Thanks to these stealthy tactics no one was able to connect the van with me.
It turns out that my parents were actually planning on letting me drive the truck as they knew my hatred for that van. They ended up telling me that since I was a new driver they wanted me to get practice with the van for a few months before I could be handed the keys of the truck. I understood this considering our 2003 Expedition was basically only 1,000 lbs lighter than a female Bush Elephant, the largest living land animal. Since I began driving the Expedition, I was able to get a few more minutes of sleep, avoid reckless driving tickets on my way out of school and of course, be able to get that hot prom date.
The moral of the story is simple; driving a minivan into the most judgmental place on the planet really does build character.
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