Minivans get no respect. They’re the Rodney Dangerfield of the vehicle world: plucky vehicles that can haul loads of people or stuff, drag boats or campers behind, and still get no respect. It can be overt or subtle. You’re probably guilty of disrespecting a minivan at one time or another—I know I am and I drive one! Think about it—you’re pulling up to an intersection with a red light, you have a choice of lanes and there’s a minivan stopped in the center lane, a Honda sedan in the inside lane, and a Cadillac in the outside lane. Who do you get behind? Of course! The Honda! You don’t want to be behind the minivan because the driver will likely be driving too cautiously or singing songs to the rearview mirror, right? Ugh, so frustrating! And the Caddy likely holds some elderly people and will go 10 mph under the speed limit, so the Honda is the correct choice. Bueno!
Drivers of minivans themselves treat the vans as utility vehicles, despite all the leather and “wood” trim features. Your stuff gets tossed into the rear storage well willy nilly, scratching the plastic sides, your dh spills oil on the carpet as he takes it to be recycled at the auto store (Yeah, thanks dh! Remember how the van was only 6 months old when *that* happened?), carseats leave marks on the seats(!), there’s a permanent kid odor inside, oh, the list goes on and on.
The worst disrespect for me is in the parking lot. Because it involves other people touching my van. My van is covered, literally covered, in dings and scratches, and paint chips because other people have knocked against my minivan. Granted, my kids have to bear some responsibility because they swing their backpacks into it sometimes or ride their bikes a little too close in the garage, but I’ve put the fear of MOM into them, lol, and they’re careful around our cars. I was driving to my mom’s house last weekend to pick up my dog (my mom dogsat for us while we were on vacation over Christmas) and I pulled into a McDonald’s for a break. The parking lot was packed, but I managed to find 3 empty parking spots away from the building, so I pulled into the middle spot and tried to park evenly between the lines (OK, have you figured out my little personality quirk yet? ;)). As I bent over to tie my shoes, I felt the van shudder (heard it too) and I looked out my window to see that the lady in the SUV that had just parked in the spot to my left had let her door fly open into my van. She saw me, casually reached for her door to close it a bit, then went on about her business. What a Georgia Peach she was! She didn’t even say “Sorry!” or anything and it did leave a nice white mark—I got out and looked while she and her dh were still in their car. Talk about my poor van being disrespected. I’m sure that wherever they were going to that day, they got a flat tire for the karma they got from that :D.
Dh’s SUV, which is a year and 3 months older than my van, doesn’t have nearly the dents in it that the van does and he parks in a parking garage at work (eh, a designated space, but still) and we drive his car for errands since it gets better gas mileage than the van. I can let you know if my luck changes because my van’s days in our family is numbered: we’re trading it in for something that is not a van ;). Just watch—this will be the week that someone decides to crash into it. I do have that kind of luck.
So share your stories! Have you noticed this discrimination against your family minivan? Is it a magnet for flying doors and keys and backpacks?