When we needed to replace our old van, we found a used Honda Odyssey and I called Mardi. “You like your Odyssey, right? Like you would recommend it?” I asked.
She said she definitely would recommend it.
We drove in Mardi’s van a lot. Sometimes it was to lunch during an in-service, or to a friend’s for wine, and sometimes it was to New York City or the mountains for a weekend. We always had perfect road snacks, and I almost always rode shotgun because I get carsick in the back seat. I’d sit and hand her dried mangos, or hold the dip so she could dip a chip or a carrot in as she drove. I’d hand her chips until she said “No more! If I ask for another chip, don’t let me have one.”
I knew she liked her van, I knew I liked her van, but it was still nice to get a little reassurance before I bought one.
On our last road trip together, I drove her van for an hour or so. As I put on the turn signal to switch lanes, I noticed her van had the same problem my new matching van had: The signal only clicked the light a few times before turning off, and didn’t seem to care what direction I wanted it to go for a moment or two.
I pointed this out to Mardi, who looked at me kind of funny.
“It’s not broken,” she explained, “It’s how it works – so your signal can be on for a lane change.”
One of my favorite van features is the backup camera with perfect lines that help me back into spaces. (Well, and out of spaces. But, I’d much rather back into a space.)
“Aha!” I said to Mardi one day. “Now I know why you are such an amazing backer-upper! This backup camera is perfect!
“Oh no,” Another friend said. “Mardi’s always been good at backing in.”
“Yea – I don’t really use the camera,” she said and I think I detected a little pride in her voice.
“Well. Now I can back in too.” I said. I already knew I’d never be as good at backing into parking spaces as Mardi was. Now it was confirmed. She didn’t even need the camera. She had a way of just finding a spot, and POOF! She was in.
This is what I’m thinking about today as I try to back in at school. There is winter dirt on the camera, so the view is fuzzy. I can’t tell if something is a parking space line or snow or a smudge on the camera. I leave that space and try the next one. This time I can’t tell if something is the line of the parking space or the crosswalk line. I leave that space and try again.
Finally, I drive off and around the parking lot, hardly even wondering if the whole school is watching me unable to park.
I have a feeling Mardi was watching though. She was probably laughing hysterically and maybe even rolling her eyes.