By far, the best advice that I can give you is to never buy a van. Skip the pickup trucks, too, while you’re at it.
They’re a trap. They’re a fool’s game. Oh sure, it all seems perfect in theory. A van! Just imagine the next time that you go to move apartments. Your three-seater couch will slide right in there! You can shove your mattress in on its edge and still have more than enough room left over for a dozen-plus boxes, your flat screen t.v., your leg lamp, your original Don Van Vliet painting, your collection of orgone energy accumulators, and your life-sized bronze statue of Pope Pius IX. Hell, you’ll be able to do the entire move in only three trips!
Here’s what they don’t tell you. Here’s what you fail to think about ahead of time: You only move apartments like, what? Once every three to four years? Tops? But you have how many “close” “friends”? Fifteen maybe, each of whom also moves approximately once every three to four years.
And those friends? None of them own a van or a pickup truck. No sir. Not a one of them. All of those bastards drive glorified rickshaws or Brutsch Mopettas or some form of transportation that has precisely enough square footage for the bodies of one driver, most of one passenger and maybe one trendy medium-sized coffee beverage cup.
So if you buy a van, every single time that any one of these fifteen close friends of yours is about to move apartments, you are going to get that call. “I’m moving to the Heights next weekend. Mind if I borrow your van?”
And no, they cannot borrow your van. Certainly not! No one other than you even knows how to get the damn thing started, much less drive it anywhere. And the clutch sticks and the gas gauge does not work. In order to exit the driver’s side of the vehicle, you need to roll down the window at just the right speed (so aforementioned window does not fall off the track) and then reach over and use the outside handle to open the door. The power steering fluid drains every thirty-five-point-two miles, without fail. The side mirrors are taped on with electrical tape, which means no one who is not exactly your height can see out of them.
There’s not another soul in the known universe who can operate this antiquated monstrosity except for you, and all of those vagabond friends of yours are only too well aware of this fact. So when your friend calls you up and asks if he can borrow the van to move, he isn’t really asking you to just borrow a van. He is asking you to borrow a van and to borrow a van driver.
And although this should go without saying, that van driver he needs to borrow has got to be you.
So you can kiss your free weekends goodbye. Go ahead: Wave! Say, “Goodbye, free weekends!”
Now say, “Nice knowing you!”
Now say, “It’s been fun!”
This all sounds very dark and cynical, I know. It sounds like something for which there really ought to be some sort of a law requiring potential van buyers to be warned prior to signing on the dotted line.
But you do not have the law protecting you. The only thing you have protecting you is me, and I am telling you, this van situation is even darker I have made it out to be.
Here is why: Those fifteen close, Smart car-driving friends we were talking about earlier? Each and every one of them has fifteen close, Smart car-driving friends of their own, and at the instant you purchase your van, all of those friends of friends now know someone who knows someone who owns a van.
Do the math.
15 X 15 = 225 people.
We’ll subtract one for Star, who is close friends with two of your other close friends, and one for Vinnie, who has been holed up in the same house for more than twenty years and seems unlikely to ever leave in anything but a body bag.
So 223 people.
And it’s not just a matter of 223 people moving apartments. It is a matter of 223 people who also need to transport wood from the lumber yard and recliners from the furniture store and trees from the nursery and fat Uncle Charlie (who might or might not be dead) from Grandma’s house and one furious, rapacious flying chupacabra captured in the streets of downtown Houston late last night.
So you can kiss your free evenings goodbye, too. Go ahead now: Slip your free evenings some tongue and grab their ass. Whatever you want. You will not be seeing them again.
Congratulations, my friend! You refused to take my advice, so now you are the proud new owner of a van and you’re on everybody’s Closest Fifteen Friends list!
Which is why the second best piece of advice that I can give you is to never give advice…
you always kick ass my dear. you are one of my biggest heroes. i won't ever have a van ;)ReplyDelete
I might make an exception regarding van ownership for YOU, actually, since you are the person most likely to be driving down curving roads at night with no headlights. A larger vehicle would put you at a distinct advantage in a collision...Delete
BUT what if you can't afford a health club membership and the only way you ever get to work out is to help people move? Also, what if you don't like free weekends? ON TOP OF THAT, what if you have a hard time meeting people because you don't have hobbies or have the stink of blogger on you so this is the only way you can meet new people, and also get free pizza at the end of your workout? AND FURTHER, I have a weekend-specific drinking problem, so this new side business of van ownership would be a great distraction from my crippling addiction. I'm thinking van ownership is the solution to all my problems.ReplyDelete
My advice might target other misanthropes.Delete
If you like people and want more people around you, on the other hand, then by all means, get a van. I also find that surrounding myself with drugs and prostitutes will have the same effect.
I won't even buy a stick shift.ReplyDelete
I wonder what percentage of the population knows how to drive stick.Delete
Not very high these days, I'll bet.
As career criminal I highly recommend living and working with a vanReplyDelete
1) No fix address is a big plus and your view changes all the time
2) Less hassle selling hot products from a mobile store front
3) You can pick up the best "dates"
4) Helping people move makes casing too easy
Some perfectly respectable people have lived in vans down by the river!Delete
Seriously, though, vans get a bad rap because of the Seventies. It's as though having a van with shag carpet lining the interior, a water bed in the back, and an eagle painted on the side makes me a holdover from the Lynyrd Skynyrd era.
Good luck finding someone who can even drive a manual transmission, let alone a friend who can manage the slipping clutch and the rhythm of pumping the brakes while revving the engine to overcome the sticky carburetorReplyDelete
The taped-on side mirrors part is true. Someday, I should probably do something about that...Delete
I have a 1992 Dodge minivan that looks as old as it is so no one hassles me to help them move... or even to borrow it. Besides, most people out here have trucks so they don't need to borrow my van anyway. I do know what you're saying though. I used to have a GMC version of an El Camino sand people always wanted to borrow it to move things. Of course, they always returned with the tank almost on empty but at least sometimes said thanks. HahaReplyDelete
Having an old vehicle that looks old is a very good defense against being asked to borrow it. People have also grown a bit nervous about riding in a vehicle with me, so that helps, too.Delete
I don't own a van simply because I don't want to look like a molester. See, van ownership is definitely a different ballgame when you're a man.ReplyDelete
As for cars, I own a 2 seater with a manual. It's my little way of saying "I don't want to be your damn chauffeur, and don't even think about trying to drive it."
My next car is going to be tiny. It's going to be a skateboard or something.Delete
You can spray paint "Free Candy" on a skateboard and it has a completely different effect than it does when you spray paint it on a van.
Around here, almost everyone drives giant pick-up trucks. Either we all can stand to learn from your wisdom, or we all have really small penises.ReplyDelete
Teach me Katy......teach me! :)
You might have just found THE exception to my rule: If everybody around has a pickup truck or big vehicle, my warning is sort of negated, huh?Delete
Around here, even the guys trying to make up for a small penis have small cars. You know, those Italian cars whose names I can't remember that looked cool when they were Hot Wheels toys but not so great as real cars?
This morning, I was filling up with gas next to a guy driving a Lotus. he was wearing driving gloves with shorts.
Driving gloves with shorts!
Still want a van though.ReplyDelete
The people using for your van won't love you! They will borrow and then leave you!Delete
We went the other route and got a Journey. Not quite a van, not quite a car. Shiny and expensive though. And that would be our excuse for those who wish to drive it...."We paid and arm and a leg for that damn thing! Ain't no way in hell you or anybody else will ever drive it!"ReplyDelete
Yeah, a late-Seventies-era van doesn't quite have that same effect.Delete
Besides, you admitted to being an addict in your blog today and your profile pic features a drunk guy with a beer bottle. No one is asking you to drive anywhere...
I wanted to say that driving a white van is like having a decal declaring that "I give candies to kids free". But looks like someone had already beat me to it.ReplyDelete
I have a minivan though. The key is to make friends or be friends with people who already have a minivan or pursue them to procreate more so that they aren't left with any choice but to buy a minivan.
I am that holdall mommy. Even during my single days going out with me is a breeze I am like your walking convinent store - I carry everything from water to bandaid , victorinox everything.
Drawback is they kinda ask my kind of people to stay back in all attractions - not because I am an Indian or they take me for a terrorist but for things I take with me like terrorists.
What do you do with your van anyway? have lunch at Ikea everyday?
I had to drive across Interstate 80 in the van once. It's the highway that cuts right across the center of the country, and it turns out it's like the major drug trafficking route in the whole country.Delete
The van got pulled over and searched 4 times in Nebraska.
That sucks because I have everything from tools to spy equipment back there. Depending on what jobs I'm working at the time, there's no telling what might be back there.
I owned a pickup. Three of them. Good ones. They got decent mileage; and I could go camping in them. I also owned a 1960 Land Rover with right-hand drive, quirky electrics and a canvas top that always made me think I was going camping, even when I broke it out to look Way Cool when driving to the friggin' grocery store.
Never once did anyone ask me to help them move. Must be my sparkling personality - or perhaps this response: "Move? Did I hear you say, 'move'? (bang phone on desk) Hello?? McFly?? Did I hear that right? Hey. I'm outta town. Starting the day before you move, and getting back the day after. My truck? No, you may not borrow my truck. I want it back in one piece. I can do *what* to myself? No, thanks, I have a girlfriend for that...."
And so it goes....
I assume, living where you live, that your pickup trucks were four wheel drive. I tried to drive around on snow and ice in a Ford Ranger with rear wheel drive once. Maybe even twice. It wasn't possible. It suddenly made sense as to why I don't see as many pickup trucks when I'm up north...Delete
Honestly, I don't know what I'd do without the kind of vehicle that can haul around my stuff. But it does get old sometimes, being everyone's go-to person for hauling.
But, without a van, how else are me and my friends, including a talking dog, going to go about solving mysteries and capturing masked criminals?ReplyDelete
I'm going to tell you the truth, Chiz: I'm actually an old man who is trying to frighten the owners of this house away so that I can get all their money. My ghost outfit is perfect.Delete
That's my plan. I need to get away with it, and I can't have you kids and your dog screwing it up.
Hahaha! I LOVE this!!ReplyDelete
See this, this is the reason I never wanted a van... Most people attribute it to the fact that I don't want to be a soccer mom and grow a second skin of sweats,... But this is the real reason. :)
There. Somebody gets it.Delete
Might as well paint the damn thing yellow and call it what it is: A bus.
Katy. Unless you're homeless and need a safe place for sex, ixnay on the anvey. And most of us have way to fucking many friends. Some are like body lice (add personal analogies here) and some are actually supportive. Like body lice, I have met some of my friends while in the company of existing close friends.ReplyDelete
I'm thinking a good practice might be to shave everything down and apply astringent to all your friends and see which ones wash away with the rinse water.
At a certain point, i think most of my friends were a little scared of my driving, so that helped. If people think you're drunk, epileptic, and potentially suicidal, they tend not to jump in the car when you're driving.Delete
OK, it discourages at least 50% of them.
This is similar as to why I didn't become a doctor. I don't want to get a phone call every time one of my friends has seriously injured themselves. Well that and my severe lack of motivation and no aptitude towards learning.ReplyDelete
I lived with a lawyer for 8 years, and we generally had a line of people trying to get free legal advice on everything from late bills to "Oops, I hit a kid with my car."Delete
I am currently almost useless, so far as my friends and acquaintances are concerned. Except for the van.
I don't mind being considered useless.
My first vehicle was a van. Ford Econoline 3 speed stick on the floor. My first love. I can't say anything bad about her.ReplyDelete
Now that I think about it, the vehicle is really great. It's all the people that suck.Delete