Monday, April 29, 2013

Six Minivan Features I Really Need

Starting this summer, Honda Odyssey minivans will be equipped with a built-in vacuum to suck up smashed Goldfish crackers, hardened fruit gummies, and dirty Tic-Tacs that litter the floors of minivans everywhere. Here is a staged picture of the vacuum poised to attack an artfully arrayed gaggle of Froot Loops in an otherwise pristine car:

I think that green Froot Loop is actually defying gravity, which
makes sense since there is nothing natural about a Froot Loop.
 While this is a fabulous idea, there are a few more features that I would like on my minivan...

1. A Taxicab-Like Partition - Wouldn't you like to be physically separated from the constant chaos in the backseat of the minivan? Of course, the children could rap on the glass if they really needed something, or if I missed their stop. I could post a sign like this on the glass:

Of course no kissing or hugging. The only reason they'd hug and kiss
is if they are hiding some other activity, like biting or stabbing each other with shivs.
This might also encourage them to start tipping me.

2. Car Sickness Guard - I'd like to be able to press a button to magically encase the seat area and person suffering from motion sickness in disposable plastic sheeting that could be easily discarded after the motion sickness event is over. Of course it would somehow be environmentally friendly because it would be manufactured from corn or seaweed and biodegradable. The plastic could also be opaque to prevent a barf-a-rama situation as depicted in Stand By Me.

Aside: We lived through a barf-a-rama and it was a nightmare. We were stuck in traffic and the Girl, who gets carsick really easily, puked everywhere. The Boy took one look at her and he puked, too. Thank goodness the Baby was too little to know what was happening, but if I tell the story now she cries because she feels like she was left out. We pulled over in a Walgreen's parking lot and the K took off his shirt and his undershirt and the kids took off all their clothes and changed into his shirts. Then we drove 40 minutes back to our hotel (oh yes, we were on vacation) with the K shirtless and the kids wearing his shirts and paid $70 to have the hotel wash two t-shirts and two pairs of shorts. At least it was a rental car. That's the glass half-full take on the situation, but it still sucked.

3.  External Camouflage  - Not that I don't think driving a minivan is cool, but there are just some times when you want to project a different image than the minivan conveys. So, I would like to have a feature that is a combination of a ghillie suit:

Now that I know the name for a ghillie suit, I will
refer to them so often that people will hate me. 

and a tromp l'oeil bikini shirt:

That would enable the minivan to be disguised as something a little cooler, like a Subaru (so people think that I ski and compete in triathlons) or a caravan of smart cars.

4. Self-Steering Function - This is all about safety, really. There are so many times that the Baby drops something of vital importance that she needs immediately, like a sock or a leaf, and it would be nice to have the car drive for me while I root around on the floor behind the driver's seat to retrieve the lost object so that she'll stop screaming. Driving with my knees and asking the big kids if I'm about to hit something is probably not safe. But, everyone has their own issues:

I saw this in the parking lot of my favorite coffee shop.
Guess this lady drives while pining for the love of a teenaged virgin.
Or fast. Whatever.

The Cullen driver was across from Yoga Bitch. I bet they're like the Sharks and the Jets.

5. Beverage Center - Sometimes I just need a warm-up on my coffee or the children are thirsty and telling them for the tenth time to just drink their own spit isn't keeping them quiet. I'm always too late for wherever I'm going to take the time to stop, so this would be the perfect solution. Apparently, I'm not too off the mark because there is such a thing as a refrigerator in a car, but it's a little bit skimpy:

But something a little bit smaller than this would work:

 6.  Multi-tasking Assistant - If I haven't complained about this before, I'll do so now: there are countless things that I am supposed to do for my children that I simply do not have the brain cells to remember to do or the time to accomplish. I would love a feature in the minivan that would apply sunblock, brush teeth, comb and style hair. While we're at it, I'd be fine with it cutting their hair, enrolling them in summer camps, and making their lunches. Essentially, I want the car to be my personal assistant. I'm not sure a car like that exists outside of Dr. Seuss:

But a vacuum is a good start.
What kind of features would you have on your custom car?


  1. As a new van driver, I love the ghillie suit idea... although, I don't think I can get by with the bikini model at this point in my life! As for the other items, I will picket with you for any addition that might aid in the extermination of possible barf-a-rama... been there done that! The only item I can think to add to your expansive list is an industrial strength air filtration and deodorizing system, oh, and a new car smell extender would be the cherry on top. One more trip with the stinky dog, the stinky kids, their stinky equipment, and their stinky feet will do me in! Three boys can be ROUGH on a car!

    1. Do you have a minivan? Welcome to the club to which I bet you never wanted to belong! You're right about a deodorizing feature. I like those Febreeze commercials where the people are sitting in a car full of garbage, but they think it smells like clean laundry thanks to Febreeze. Maybe we can get Febreeze-infused fibers woven into the seats.

  2. I'm actually in the market for a new car. The vacuum cleaner is a nice feature, but I just can't do the minivan thing. Besides, who wants to vacuum your car all the time? I do that enough at home. I could live with "The Hangover" movie Mercedes convertible for me, and hire a driver to transport the kids in my beat up Pilot.

    1. Maybe you can get the Mercedes and tow the boys behind you in a trailer that they can defile to their hearts content.

  3. It is very interesting for me to read that article. Thank author for it.