Vans Are Fun to Drive

Vans Are Fun to Drive

This isn’t a parable or a metaphor. It’s literally a little scribble about driving a van.

I had some biggish furniture to collect… I thought through the logistics, and try as I might to imagine a queen-sized mattress into the back of an SUV. Nope, wasn’t gonna happen.

So, I hired a van for the day. (A Toyota not a VW, but the van in the pic is cute as a button, no?)

The idea had rolled around like tumbleweed in my mind during the week but hadn’t gained serious roots. Then unexpectedly I had a free day.

Now you might be thinking this is hardly something to make a big deal out of, but it is kind of a big deal because I don’t normally do spontaneous. I’m more of a planner. I know, not very rock n roll is it.

But today was different. I googled a place, they had a van, I booked it, dropped the kids at school, then went and picked it up, and spent the rest of the day driving around in a van… with a very big grin on my face, and here’s why...

First up, you sit high in a van. I like that. And it made me feel kind of, well, like ‘I’m with the band,’ kind of a feeling, you know? I felt like I knew things and was good at things that I didn’t know I knew or did… But everyone around me knew. You know? Well I guess I felt a bit tough.

And appropriate after a conversation I’d had with Indi, my eight-year-old son that morning.

He was rummaging through the bottom of my wardrobe (looking for hidden treasure) and pulled out some black heels.

“Mum, whose are these?” 

“They’re mine!”

“I’ve never seen you wear them.”

“Well, sometimes I put on a nice dress and then I wear them.”

“They’re not your style.”

“What’s my style?”

“Those boots you wear at Pa’s house.” (Elastic sided work-boots.)

So anyway, you get the picture. It wasn't a black heels moment.

First I collected the bed, from Terry the very tall 60ish Christian who no longer needed it, as he was about to move in with his fiancé.

Now before I go on with the story, I noticed just now as I typed ‘christian’ (with a lowercase ‘c’) that the spell-check wants it to be capitalised. Strange I thought since it’s not a proper noun… Then I tried Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and Jewish… They all get a capital. I mean for pete’s sake, Jewish is an adjective parading as a noun isn’t it?! So religions obviously get to break normal grammar rules. Interestingly atheist and agnostic do not deserve capitals.

On the road again… The next item of furniture was a rather awesome round cane and smoked glass dining table and four chairs with equally lovely floral print seat cushions.

I just googled 'cane & smoked glass table' to get a heyday date to beef up my descriptive narrative and found listings for retro tables. Oh please, there’s nothing retro about this style of furniture. It’s 1989 all over. And I was in love.

This time it was from a family of white South Africans who were moving to a smaller townhouse. Not sure of their philosophical beliefs… Or even why I knew Terry was a Christian come to think of it.

Cruising along with the traffic reminded me of a part time delivery driver job I’d had during my uni days. I’d spend a few evenings a week in my mustard coloured Datsun Stanza delivering restaurant orders throughout Melbourne… To large men dressed as Vikings one night.

The pay was crappy but gosh I loved that job. Got to know the back streets really well and talk on a walky-talky. Summer nights were the best. Window down, rolly in hand, Ministry on the stereo. The Indian restaurants would give me cups of chai if I had to wait for an order, and the Italian places would feed me pizza.

Let me say quickly here that another awesome thing about a van is their turning circle. It’s really amazing. I had to do some u-turns, three pointers and parallel parks and it was like a dream… Like one of those spinny mobilo bits… You know, you make helicopters out of them.

One more sweet thing about vans is they have a middle seat in the front… Which means I was able to pick my boys up from school in the van. I strapped a booster seat in the passenger’s seat for Che, the little one, and Indi sat in the middle.

At first they took one look at the van and told me it was lame.

“Get in,” I said. “It’ll be fun!”

In they hopped, and sure enough it didn’t take long before they were won.

Indi: “Wow, we’re up so high!”

Che: “It’s so fun being in the front. Can we buy one?”

I still had a couple of hours until the van had to be back so we drove around for a while. Indi practiced changing gears for me (a novelty since I have an auto), and at the risk of ruining my clean living reputation, we drove through you know the drive through, with the big upside down W and bought ice-creams. It’s fun driving through in a van.

We then cruised along the beach road for a while, parked and spent the afternoon exploring rock pools.

Eventually it was time for the van to go home and the fun to end.

Wow, what an unexpectedly great day. I thought I was hiring a vehicle to get some stuff from A to B, and ended up hiring a van full of fun.

So there you have it, no message, no metaphor, no hidden meanings. Just a story about a van.

When you stop and listen, stories are everywhere. When was the last time something seemingly simple became sublime in your day? 







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