I have met the enemy – and it is a fleet of minivans

THE OLYMPIANFebruary 22, 2012 

I’m about to admit something that will shock and amaze all teenagers, twenty-somethings, middle-aged mamas, granddads and paranoid police officers alike: I do not like to drive. In fact, I hate it. Weird, right? Freedom, speed, looking awesome (in my little yellow slug bug), what’s not to like? I’ll tell you ye of the iron foot – minivans.

Don’t laugh. Minivans are the catalyst of crazy. Every morning around 7 a.m., I head to high school where I’m engaged in the fight of my life – getting into the parking lot. It’s set up on a nice little “share” system, where three routes are meant to take turns (literally) entering the driveway and trying not to hit the roaming smokers making their way to class (It’s really tempting though). Anyway, grown-ups don’t share. I think they’ve forgotten how. I sit there for around 10 minutes, my Taylor Swift pumping and a forced smile on my face, while minivan after minivan veer in front of me, and occasionally wave a thank you (I wasn’t letting you in, you cut me off. Jerk.)

If I do make it into the parking lot before lunch, I’m met with yet another obstacle. Minivans parked in the middle of the path. Oh yes. Minivan drivers are not only rude, but mighty protective. No child leaves the affection wagon without a kiss, hug, backpack, pen, sandwich, balloon, flowers, cellphone, bike, jacket, plate of cookies, helmet, flip-flops, transistor radio, surf board, thermos and deep sea diving kit. And obviously, the safest place for said child to retrieve all the things vitally necessary for six hours of school is the exact middle of road. Where the child must, as instructed by the loving parent, take their precious time walking to the sidewalk. I’m joking! Minivan kids don’t use sidewalks. They follow the path set for them, right down the middle of the street.

At last! The minivans have left and I make my way to my paid parking spot. Almost there, almost there… What! There, big rear taunting me, sits my arch enemy and antagonist. Minivan. Complete with an “I’m proud of my honor student” bumper sticker. I’m not proud of your honor student. In fact, I hate them. They are the reason you are here right now, at 7:30 a.m., in my paid parking spot.

It’s alright. I’ll park somewhere else, I’m sure they’ll be gone by lunch. But they never are. They stay there all day. Doing who knows what, maybe watching a movie on the built in DVD player and memorizing Martha Stewart recipes. So I park in the very back of the lot, where birds hang from the telephone poles and take turns (they know how to share) pooping on my car.

At the end of the day I run like a mad woman to my car, hair blown back behind me and eyes quite literally popping out of my head, hoping to beat the mini-vans. Hoping to win. Key in. Turn. Taylor singing me through the motions (It’s a love story, baby just say yes). Eyes to mirror, I’m gonna make it! Then my vision is blocked. I roll down my window, and stick my head out, knowing what’s coming but willing it to not be so. Minivan. Like salmon come home, they wait. Stupid stick drawings reminding people that they have children, all of whom are named Jessica.

I climb back into my loving, sympathetic car, hearing strains of Billy Joel, and make myself comfortable. Hair up, shoes off, seat reclined, I’m in for the long haul. Let the minivans fight it out. I’m going to take a nap and dream of a world where parents can’t drive.

Marti Schodt is a student at Timberline High School. She may be reached at MarthaJane004@aol.com.

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