May 13, 2010
Softball games, family parties, trick-or-treating, and road trips to Hilton Head Island; “the Bubble”, a metallic garnet-red 1993 Previa, has seen it all. This bulbous red van grew up with me and my family for ten years. Although just a van, the Bubble truly seemed to be another little part of our family.
Every summer we used to drive to Hilton Head for our family vacations. Being a 13 hour ride, we got to spend a lot of time with our Bubble friend. Before the age of portable flat screen T.V.’s and XBOX’s in cars, my sister and I used to think we were riding in a luxury-mobile on the long drives down to South Carolina. The middle captain seats were able to be rotated so they’re facing either the back or the front, so my parents would turn one of them around and bungee-chord a little T.V. to the seat, powered by a cord plugged into the cigarette lighter. My sister and I would then turn the back row of seats into one big bed. Not only did my sister and I think this was one of the coolest ideas, but my parents loved it too because it gave us distraction to prevent (at least some of) our sisterly fights on the long drive. To this day, although we don’t have The Bubble anymore, my family still talks and laughs about the bungee-chorded T.V. road trips.
Along with getting my family to and from vacation every year, the van also made sure my friends and I could get the most possible amounts of candy on Halloween. The van would patiently wait for us to finish our neighborhood rounds of trick-or-treating in the drive way. But when there came to be just about 20 minutes left of candy-time to the evening, the bubble would save the day. My dad would drive to another neighborhood and drive us very slowly so we could keep the sliding door open in order to blast in and out of the van, marine–style, to quickly get to the next house.
Out of all of my family members, my dad had a special love for the Previa. On the bubble’s 200,000th mile, my dad pulled off to a parking lot where he asked my sister to take pictures of the miles while he smoked a celebration cigar. To some this may seem silly, considering it’s just a van, it’s not the only vehicle that’s made long road trips or broke the 200,000 mile marker. However, this van allowed my family to share hundreds of fun, funny, sad, or frightening memories. It just had a mystical quality to the interior that made it a space for fun and adventure. A vehicle is just a vehicle until it’s been through life with you, and you’ve broken each other in a little; to a point where that little scratch or stain transports you to the memories which created them.