I recently discovered something disconcerting about myself. Something that has been steadily eating away at me for a few years, and only recently has risen to the surface.

I want a mini-van.

Now, for most rationale adults, this desire is not at all disconcerting. Minivans are nice vehicles, perfectly suited for family life; even more ideal for lives lived on the road as anyone living in this area does to a large extent. They are perfectly practical. Then there are all those really cool things in them now.

DVD players. Thirty-two cup holders. Doors that open when you walk up to them with a squirming child in your arms and a hairbrush in your teeth.

What's not to like?

I've driven my mother-in-law's minivan, ridden in grand style in my aunt's, and waved at my children in my friend's. And I think, there, but for a misplaced sense of car ego, go I.

I inherited from my father a deep-seated belief that you are what you drive. I have, in my driving career owned a 66 Mustang, an old MG Midget, a Datsun Z-28 and various SUVs. I've even had a couple of motorcycles. So when I had to give up my VW bug when child number two was on the way (the baby car seat wouldn't fit), I was looking for a stylish alternative with four doors.

I ended up with a car that was featured in ads filled with camping gear, surfboards, musicians and very jazzy music. Not a diaper bag in sight. I was relieved that I had found a four door car with a hatchback that was somehow still hip. I COULD be cool and practical.

Then, two years later, I got my registration renewal and there it was. I had bought a station wagon.


How did this happen? I was despondent, quickly paid my renewal and tried to forget about it. I tried to imagine the surfboard, the jazzy music and the very cool people I was going to hang out with right after I got the playdoh out from under my nails. But the State of Texas Department of Transportation has no such illusions.

They know I'm going from soccer to piano lessons to school.

But one of these days I'm getting that surfboard.