My van has suffered so many near death experiences over the years. Some of them at the hands of folks in the food industry---a pizza delivery guy did $8000 of damage to it while trying to beat the clock, a famous local sandwich maker rammed it from behind and a non-English speaking fry cook charged at it for no apparent reason. Then there was the break down in the Hill district, the transmission blown on the Parkway and of course, the not-so-fun experience in the early morning hours on the back roads of Virginia near a Christian Rock Station. Not to mention the many drives between Oakland and Mt. Lebanon with smoke billowing out of the hood or those humiliating times when I managed to make a whole new slew of enemies as it stalled out during rush hour traffic. And, then, there's the mysterious bullet holes. Yet, each time, no matter how dreadful the situation, my red van rallied. Even during some it's most gruesome hours, it somehow wanted to live. But.....the hour has come. It is no longer begging for mercy. It has called it quits. Somehow it found out that it's resident driver is transforming. My loyal van knows that it will no longer suit me. It knows I'm moving on. It knows I need something a little sassier, something that doesn't scream "I'm a middle-aged mom with kids, a belly that giggles and my breasts are not perky.....". It's been a great van. It's comfortably held my body from size 10 to size 22 without wincing. It's transported little boys in baseball uniforms that spit on the floor, it hauled groceries and hockey sticks and sweet little ballerinas in the making. It carried nieces and nephews, beach toys and luggage. Bouncy cheerleaders practiced hand movements and chants to and from games and practices. It got us through raging storms and snowy holidays and sunny days at the Dormont Pool. It carried kids in tears, in giggles and in their formal attire. It picked them up at childcare centers and elementary schools and middle schools and high schools. It parked in church parking lots and at malls, hotels and beach houses. It safely cradled life's treasures, pumpkin pies and big vats of meatballs. It was Santa's sleigh and a dining coach at the drive-in. It housed stray french fries, missing Barbie shoes and hidden packs of cigarettes. It hid dirty laundry from visitors, rocked babies to sleep and stood in sports locker and junk drawers. It was lived in and loved. My van. Me.
Carmen says "we need a new van". Our van days are over, babe. I've got a whole new VIBE going on......maybe even a SALSA VIBE! ME.