Sunday, December 27, 2009

Pimp My Honda

I’m sitting in my driveway on a cool night watching Daughter cruise down the street on Bar Mitzvahzilla's bicycle. I’m getting baleful glares from her because she’s stuck riding his bike - it’s a red and black Mongoose and has racing stripes. She’s not especially girly, but still. She doesn’t want to be seen on this contraption. As a matter of fact, Bar Mitzvahzilla has abandoned the bike to her.

In the caste system of unspoken eighth grade politics, it’s apparently not cool to ride a bike anymore, or not a Mongoose anyway. Bar Mitzvahzilla remains undecided on what type of bike will be cool enough not to make him lose face. He's mulling this over and it's quite a puzzle.  All he really knows for sure at this awkward age of fourteen is what kinds of cars are cool.

His first choice: a Lamborghini. I advise him he is not getting a Lamborghini.

He sighs heavily, frustrated by the fact that we don’t have any cool cars in our household.

“Mom, why don’t you drive a Mustang or a Camaro?”

I have to think over, mull over the impossibility of driving around in a car that makes teenage boys want to race me.  I try to explain this.

"Then why not dad?"

I think about this.  What would it take to get my very practical husband into a Mustang or Camaro? Probably a midlife crisis.  Right now my husband’s idea of a midlife crisis would be to do something really wild, like not take out the garbage can on trash day.

How did my Jewish son develop such an affinity for muscle cars? His forebears on my side of the family drove peddlers wagons in the Old Country. My father drove a series of wood-paneled station wagons that, even after he sold them, would just keep showing up at our house, embarassing nightmares from our past, loaners from the repair shop he had sold them to. My mother, at seventy-nine, careens through town in a souped up Toyota Matrix.

On my husband’s side of the family, Bar Mitzvahzilla's obsession with muscle cars is even more bewildering. Husband’s father was a mild-mannered pharmacist, a non-driver, who had to take three buses to his job each day working at a drug store in downtown Milwaukee. He finally got a car when Husband was a teenager.

So, no, Bar Mitzvahzilla's not getting a Lamborghini, or a Mustang, a Camaro or his other choice, a Challenger. My husband says his own Honda will be just the right age to be passed down to Bar Mitzvahzilla when he turns sixteen.

He's at first horrified. Then he starts mulling over customization opportunities: custom wheels - spinners? Custom paint?

Wood paneled sides?


  1. I'm afraid I am as bad as your teenager.
    I love little brother got one not too far back, and your son is right...the dodge challenger is one of the best new muscle cars out there.
    I wouldn't get him a muscle car either.
    The kids need to learn to scrape along in a complete hunk of junk to truly appreciate a nice car THEY BUY WITH THEIR OWN MONEY later.
    I'd buy him an old Ford focus lol.
    That'll serve him.

  2. That's so funny, Chris. I had a car that used to break down on me on every street in Phoenix. And that was when I was 22! Husband definitely says BZ has to pay him for the Honda if he wants it and I'm the softie that doesn't want him to go through what I went through!

  3. I remember convincing my parents that they needed to replace our family's dying station wagon with a Jeep Cherokee when I went to prep school. A Jeep wasn't as posh as a BMW or a Mercedes, but I guess I thought it was a step in the right direction!

  4. Kristen, it's funny the messages that our cars send about us, like the Jeep could say you were the rugged outdoor type but an old heap was just going to be an old heap, right? I know humiliation well from my childhood.