First Published in the Tri-Town Transcript Sep. 17, 2014
It’s time to face reality. The Giant Sparkle, which Regular Readers know is our giant silver mini-van, (may it shine and twinkle forever) is a Giant Failure in the snow. And, as they say here south of the wall, winter’s coming. I’m not sure if the ‘frictionless’ setting was an after-factory add-on or came standard, but I’m done with the view it afforded me from the on-ramps and snow banks where it manifested itself. So we began to research cars with all-wheel drive, that tall people could fit in, plus children with backpacks and endless gear, plus a pallet of snacks, plus the occasional giant dog, and had good gas mileage.
To make things easier, I ruled out SUVs, wagons, or anything boring.
I was explaining all this to my friend. ”And so we whittled down our list and decided to go look at . . .”
”Wait,” she interrupted. “We’ve been making the same list! We used the same criteria.”
I looked at her.
She looked at me.
”We’re looking at a Mini Cooper Countryman.”
Huh. Was this weird? Was there something deeper going on? I couldn’t help but recall the comment my hipster cousin recently made on Facebook about people and their ‘trying too hard’ cars. His listed included the Countryman. Was I trying too hard? Both my friend and I are 40, with kids in that jarring, maybe-we’re getting-old, tween world. Was this some sort of pre-mid-life crisis?
But then I came to my senses. I’m sure what my cousin meant (or what I helped to clarify) was that we were trying to not get stuck under a snow bank, and trying to not skid into our own homes. Whew! We weren’t suburban moms in crisis. Fun, new cars, back on!
“Don’t tell me your color scheme!” I quickly continued with my friend.
I wanted to feel original – – even if, by definition, getting the same car meant that I was not.
”Esther, I’m not getting some lime green car with neon stripes. I’ll go subtle, like a dark color.”
“Stop!” I didn’t want to know. Because contrary to what my personality might lend people to believe, I actually did not want a car that looked like a lollipop. I had the perfect design in mind: a white countryman with some jazzy black stripes. White like the snow it was going to crush.
My friend reluctantly agreed, but when they ordered their car two weeks before us, she sent me a text.
”It’s a done deal, can’t I show you the color?”
Well . . . she had tipped her hand with the darker color comment, so it felt safe. My plan would still be original.
The picture came through. It was white. White like snow.
Ok. Ok. It was fine. Hers didn’t have black stripes, that was different right? Right??
I texted back.
“Um, so, it’s not exactly the same as what I want . . .”
She explained that they liked the deep blue or black, but the best deal had been in white.
Then it was our turn. I went in and handed my design to our rep. A day later he got back to me.
“I found the exact car you’re looking for only it’s not white.”
It was, it probably goes without saying, black.
“Well, it’s not white like the snow I’ll be crushing,” I tried to act like I was 40 and not seven, “and I really wanted some fun, jazzy stripes.”
“We can add fun stripes,” he said soothingly.
So, it turns out that color of crushing snow is black. Black: the total opposite of snow! Black: the very essence of all that is not snow! Black: with, you know, some sporty white stripes.
You may call it cognitive dissonance, but we call it, The Snow Crusher. It’s our new secret weapon this winter when it will be easy to see us against the snow . . . and not embedded in it.