It seems I may have kept my minivan about a month too long. Last month, I could have traded it in on another car and gotten a thousand dollars toward my purchase. Maybe more. But this month—what with the van’s sudden desire to ask for a new catalytic converter—its value has dropped. To nothing. “It will cost more to fix it than the car is worth,” I was told, and I get it. Which is why I’m not planning to fix it. And that’s why my son and I were discussing the minivan problem.

The minivan is currently the only vehicle we have that can transport furniture, lumber, bikes, camping gear, farm animals… whatever it is we need to haul. Not to mention, more than a few passengers. This was the vehicle that I acquired back in the pre-school years so that my children could bring friends and we could all fit in the same vehicle, even with car seats.

But the minivan problem for W is all about the fact that we now have no way to transport bicycles. Apparently, he is planning many trips over the summer that will require the hauling of two or three bicycles, and the fact that the minivan is no longer functional is a problem. But W’s brain does not work the way the average brain works, so I was not surprised when I was preparing chicken for dinner and W stated, “How about if you get a tank?” He was in the other room, so I wasn’t quite sure I heard him right.

“A tank? Like a military tank?” I questioned.

“Yeah, a military tank. It’d be really cheap to insure. I don’t think you could damage it.”

“But you could definitely hurt other people with it,” I returned. “Insurance is as much about liability as it is about damage to the vehicle. Besides, I don’t think tanks get good gas mileage.”

“Nope. I suspect not. But,” (and his face lit up with the but…) “They are exempt from the gas guzzler tax,” he added, as if that somehow made driving one around town more appealing.

“Nice!” I agreed. “But I’m sure there might be a blind spot or two in a tank,” I continued my litany of reasons not to replace the van with a tank.

“Yeah,” he laughed. “There are a few of those. And it probably doesn’t even go in reverse.” Huh. I’ve never really thought about that.

“And I don’t think your brother would be thrilled about driving a tank to school. Hey C,” I called into the living room. “You wanna drive a tank to school?” Isn’t driving your mother’s minivan bad enough?

“Nope. I’m good,” came his unenthusiastic reply.

“I think it would be great to drive it to the high school,” W continued. “Everyone would get out of your way in a hurry!”

“Well, you’ll be driving in another couple years. You’d have to drive it next….” No doubt, this piece of information might drive home the impracticality of the tank as an option.

In W’s mind a tank might just solve the problem of our mini-van. In my mind, driving a tank would create far bigger problems than not being able to transport bicycles!



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