Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Surreal, and oddly timely

Methinks the new minivan will be arriving very, very soon. First of all, I’ve wanted one for a long time and in keeping with my Not A New Year’s Resolution (because I don’t do those), I want to get something for me-me-me. AND YES! I’m springing extra for heated front seats and remote keyless entry. Oh yeah. And the rear shut the heck up already entertainment system, for the Denizens.

I may demand the dealer throw in one of those big fancy red ribbons for the top. And I’ll make my husband drive it home while I race ahead in a cab, rush inside and call all the neighbors so they can come outside and watch on the curb as if it were the Macy’s parade coming to town. Then I’ll make him take me outside with his hands over my eyes and pretend to be ever so surprised, and maybe jump up and down and cry a lot.

Oh darling, however did you know?! {sob sob sob}

Secondly, the van has begun revealing that it is about as far removed from ‘safe’ as a vehicle can get and still legally drive on our freeways. We’ve got broken seatbelts, we’ve got replacement seatbelts that don’t really fit right, and recently discovered that the bolts that were used to secure the back bench to the chassis are too small, rusting, and likely to shear off if any real pressure were applied.

Having seen about eleventy-nine too many stories about children being hurt, killed, or otherwise mangled in various horrific ways lately, I may be a tad on the overprotective side right now. If I could get a vehicle with tough little protective pods capable of seeing the children through atmospheric reentry, I suspect I’d be willing to shell out the cash for it.

With bonus points if they could be worn outside the vehicle - say, oh, I don't know...everywhere the children went. "Put on your protective pod, Billy!" "Aw, ma, do I hafta?! None of the OTHER kids hafta.." "Well, maybe the OTHER KIDS don't have mothers who LOVE THEM like you do. Now, PUT ON THE POD!!!!"

So the rear passenger curtain air bags alone were enough to give me a shudder of delight – Behemoth basically relies on sheer size for protection. As in, “Nobody could possibly hit this van accidentally! Lookit how HUGE she is! You could never ‘not see’ this van!!”

Heh heh. Yeah. Funny story there. Which I will tell you in a moment.

And finally, we have a tax situation this year. I’m looking for deductions, people. If we’re going to be buying the thing soon anyway, let’s get it done before the end of the year so I can take the deduction.

But still, being me…I was stuck in ‘ponder’ mode. Until a very surreal vote was cast in the ‘just replace it already’ column.

We got hit in the parking lot yesterday. The guy rammed us. Not ‘backed into us’, not ‘oops, thought it was the brake’. He got pissed off because we were blocking him (I was unloading Captain Adventure in front of the pediatricians office, for Pete’s sake!), threw it in reverse and slammed into us.

Surreal, people, surreal.

Then, he claimed, in rapid succession, that we were:

1. Parked in a no parking zone (we were not – in point of fact, we were in the logical unloading zone for the medical office)

2. Had pulled up behind him after he had already begun backing out (nooooooo, I saw you walking up to your truck as I was beginning to unbuckle Captain Adventure – I also saw you look RIGHT AT US and frown as you were getting in) (And also, you honked at us, hesitated about half a second, then rammed us – which was why we naturally assumed at first it was a case of ‘oops, wrong pedal’ rather than ‘@^*&@^!!!!!!!’)

3. @*^&@*^&@!!!!!!! (Dude. Is that the mouth you kiss your mother with?!)

4. That WE hit HIM. (By…uh…levitating our two and one half ton van…sideways?!)

5. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, that we had snuck up behind him. This is where the whole thing just took a major turn into Truth is Funnier Than Fiction.

Yes, that’s right! A 9’ high, 17.5’ long, 6.5’ wide van conversion snuck up behind him. It was so hard to see this mammoth vehicle behind him!!

Which of course begs the question: what chance does, say, a cyclist or a pedestrian have around this guy? Because brother, that van can be seen with the nekkid eye from space. Even if you were looking in front of you, you couldn’t have missed the van – it took up vast amounts of real estate in the black windows you were facing!!

Dang, man. Forget the meds this morning, or what?! Or perhaps we were visiting the opthmatologist?

He also responded to anything my husband said with a howl of, “SHUT YOUR !@*^&@(*O^&@ing MOUTH!!!!”

Breaking News! Mt. St. Asshat erupts in local pediatric office parking lot!!!! Film at eleven.

The police were summoned (!) and, while they don’t really do the personal damage thing, were of enormous help in just settling Mt. St. Asshat down a bit. Although he still flew into a blasphemous tirade whenever my husband tried to say anything.

Now that I’ve harshed all over him…honestly? I feel very sorry for this guy. You know how sometimes, there’s a conversation going on under the conversation? Like, someone is saying, “!!!!!!”, and you’re hearing my life is in the crapper right now and this was just one straw too many and I snapped and now I’ve done something incredibly stupid and I don’t know how to get out of it so I’m going to scream and yell and do a little primate dance, fling some verbal feces at the spectators and hope it just goes away?

This is kind of what I’m feeling. He was kind of pitiful, and all I’ve got for him is pity.

Anyway, he managed to do an impressive amount of damage to the stupid plastic molding on the side of the van. Initial guesstimate from the van company is about $2800 for the parts (custom job, you know) (argh), plus many weeks of waiting around while the plastic is flown in from Plasticotamia and custom molded to fit our neither metric nor English van.

Seriously. Parts for this van do not work with either system of measurement. It’s like…well. I guess in Plasticotamia, they use the Plastoitric system of measurement. Because nobody has been able to repair so much as a radio knob on that stupid vehicle without having to either jury-rig a solution, or get the tooling shipped from Plasticotamia.

Digression alert!

I’m beginning to suspect that as part of the annual New Model Year Celebration, custom van manufacturers ceremonially destroy all molds and spare parts for the prior year’s model. There can be no other explanation for the way that I have never once been able to replace anything that broke on this vehicle without going through six levels of hell.

I’m envisioning the COO, clad in a loincloth and feathers, perched on top of the roof with a seatbelt casing held on high, as the mechanics chant “ooooaaaaaaBOOgah, ooooaaaaaBOOgah!” below…

“Oh Mighty Demon of Inconvenience,” he intones. “We present to You our humble offering – let us sell many expensive yet not-quite-right replacements to unsuspecting custom van conversion owners this year!!” And he flings the seatbelt casing for the ’05 model years to the cement below!


{Shrieks of hedonistic delight from the gathered mechanics, who rush to smear the leaking oil on their faces in strange geometric patterns…}

Hmm. I may have put in just a little too much Discovery Channel time this weekend. Ahem.


It might ‘serve him right’ to have his insurance foot a large bill for what is really a rather small repair, but I’m just not feeling the outrage.

I know. It is weird. Because ordinarily I hold a grudge against people who do such things in a manner that makes my Irish relatives (some of whom have held cow-related grudges for more than one hundred generations) say, “Let it go, already!”

I’m taking this lack of wanting a piece of his flesh as a subtle hint from the Universe that perhaps it is time to light a fire under my new van purchasing behind. I honestly don’t think the damage will impact the trade in value much; shoot, there’s much worse damage on other parts of the van. We’re going to be getting the token trade-in value at any rate, and I’m not investing $DEITY-only-knows how much into cosmetic repairs in the hope of getting a better trade-in.

Poor old Behemoth. She turns ten in February…and doesn’t look a day over thirty.

Hmm. Maybe…I’d better make sure she never has a chance to warn the new minivan…


wrnglrjan said...

I want to know in what world you get a tax write-off for buying a car?


P.S. Also, please send some Thanksgiving leftovers my way because we did.not.get.any this year. None. This is just wrong on so many levels.

Stephanie said...

So, the guy is going to get off scott free? For purposefully running into a van which contained children? Really? And you do not wish to, say, castrate him? What am I missing?

21st Century Mom said...

I think it is great that you aren't stressed about this but WHAT ABOUT YOUR KIDS??!! That guy could have done some serious damage to Captain Adventure. He should be held accountable. That having been said, the cops around here never cite anyone if there's no injury so it's all a moot point.

Yes he is a pathetic little zit on the face of the earth but he shouldn't get to be a pathetic little zit with impunity.

I have no idea how to make him pay - I'm just saying.

Anonymous said...

can't reply coherently right now... too busy laughing my ass off...

RM Kahn said...

He needs to pay. For the foul mouth and sheer stupidity he displayed.... and for putting all of you in danger. It would have taken up every ounce of my being to NOT have gotten in his face. I have said ths before.. You and the hubby have Tremendous patience.

Susan said...

Much as I like to think I'm more of a Kathy Bates yelling "TOWANDA!" and plowing into the sportscar of some bratty young things, truthfully I am probably more like Mt. St. Surly myself. This post is a good object lesson for me because I've had moments where I've imagined myself behaving similarly anti-socially. I should print your story and read it daily. The Parable of the Van of Chaos.

Today's word verification: bodhbfq. I particuarly like this one as it's actually pronouncable in Gaelic. (I'm kidding.)

Peggy Archer said...

I've run into Surly while on a bicycle, actually - they pull up behind cyclists and lay on the horns, or try to sideswipe us, or try to throw water or cigarette butts at us.

Surly and all his ilk need medication.

And what's with swearing like that in front of kids? Yeesh.