The No-Minivan Pledge

Regular readers may recall that Mrs. Boston Crazy Driving and I are expecting our first child. The news was first announced in this post that tells the story about her being in a car accident while on her way to a conference. Everyone was fine and only the tire cover on the compact SUV she drives was damaged. Not only are we thankful to that small SUV for being durable in low-speed rear-end collisions (go ahead and snark on us for having an SUV in the first place), but it has come in handy on trips to Home Cheapo and transporting other items for our home that wouldn't normally fit in my compact Japanese four-door. Now, we can also add to our gratitude for this vehicle the fact that we don't have to purchase a minivan.

A coworker of mine insists we will relent and buy one after the baby, a boy, arrives in April, but I don't see it. This same coworker hauls around her urban jungle in a minivan that was bought for all the accoutrements of her one child, and she believes she could not live without it. I know we can.

See, both of us being just 30, we don't feel like we are quite old enough or "kidded up" enough to require one, first of all. Second of all, Mrs. Boston Crazy Driving and I believe that minivan drivers must give away a little bit of their driving acumen with each monthly payment in lieu of interest. Therefore, we have taken the No-Minivan Pledge. There doesn't appear to be anything readily available in the Oracle at Google, so I will write on of my own. Here goes:

I, being otherwise sane and of good driving ability, will not purchase a minivan under any circumstances, except perhaps in the demonstration of how bad minivan drivers really are; and that I will not knowingly consent to obtaining a minivan by any other methods, except in the case cited above.

OK, it needs some work, but you get the basic idea. I could have elaborated about not bending the pressure of suburban child-ferrying and such, but if our long-term plans are properly executed, there won't be any suburban child-ferrying.

Our primary reasons for taking the No-Minivan Pledge are based on several observations of those who own them.

  • First, it seems as though these are rolling entertainment rooms full of any kind of child distraction known to the modern world. I don't know about you, but only limos had TVs in them when I was growing up, and the handheld version of Nintendo wasn't introduced until I was 13 or so. That meant we had to rely on old standbys like the ever fascinating "License Plate Game," in which we would try to complete the alphabet by using the last letter of some other driver's plate. Or, someone other than the driver would be the questioner using a deck of "Trivia for Kids" cards. These are far more creative and engaging than recycling the same SpongeBob DVD, therefore increasing screen time.
  • Second, is their size itself. The mileage estimates for city and highway are comparable or better for our small SUV than most minivans. While we're conscious of our environmental damage, we aren't driving an Escalade or Suburban to the Transfer Station and the downtown silk flower shop. But minivans are comparable in length to some of the larger SUVs out there, which makes them hard to park. They are also unflatteringly egg-shaped, and therefore not cool in any form.
  • Third, their drivers tend to execute some of the most moronic maneuvers I've ever seen. Though I haven't written about them much, I witness any number of said maneuvers on a weekly basis. What infuriates me most about these moves is that they are usually done with kids in tow, and yet these are the same parents who would scold me for nearly hitting their kids while they ran out from between parked cars or something like that. Also, when dads get behind the wheel, they seem desperate to appear cool, so they tend to drive the thing like it's a Porsche. Dads, it's not a Porsche. As one bumper sticker I once saw on a minivan said, "Built for comfort, not for speed."
  • Fourth, and this may seem a little unneighborly, but without a minivan, we won't be able to play mom's taxi to a bunch of neighborhood kids. We hope we are blessed with at least two children of our own. Without a third row, we won't have enough room for more than one or two friends. Oh well.
Mrs. Boston Crazy Driving and I are unanimous in this. In fact, it was the first thing about parenthood that we agreed upon. We cannot bear to become minivan owners, and therefore have signed this pledge in hopes that others who harbor similar feelings will join us if for no other reason than to sneer at the ones who are stuck behind the wheels of these glorified grocery getters.


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