BY BETH ALLEN
So as a van fanatic, I have to ask you, why in the fuck would you get a minivan?
Cause it’s the Cadillac of minivans, and ’cause it’s a function-before -fashion type van.
Right. So, you’ve heard the term, “You are what you eat?” Well, you are what you wear, you are what you drive ˝ so what does that make you?
I’m a family man.
Oh no, really?
I’d get like an old Chevy if I could. If I could put money into it...
An old Chevy van or a car?
A van. Or a car. I like Chevy vans. I’d get a Chevy van if I had a garage and the knowledge to work on it, and money to put into it, but...
So what are you saying? You took the easy way out?
You got the family van of the ’90s?
How’d you end up with it anyway?
I had a family station wagon when I was 16 that I paid half for, my parents paid half for. I used to drive all my skater friends around in it and then I crashed it into an island, much like I did my current van recently.
Do you have a thing about islands or a thing about drinking and driving?
I have a thing about not turning on my headlights usually, when it’s dark. And I should be looking at the road when it’s dark, but, uh... So I crashed my station wagon after I’d had it about a year and then I was managing a skateboard shop for like a year and a half to pay off my fucking car that I didn’t have anymore. So for like four years I didn’t get any birthday or X-mas presents from my family, basically.
Why?? Because they had to pay off your debt for fucking up the station wagon?
No, I paid that off.
Then why did they do that?
Because every X-mas they said, “We’ll put this X-mas towards a car for you eventually.” So after a few years of that I ended up with a $5,000 1990 Chrysler.
Did you get to pick it out?
I was looking for something... I wanted to get like a Chevy van. But they were like, you’re gonna be driving to Northern California and back...
Well, I agreed. I wanted a van I could put a waterbed in the back of. And a TV and VCR in there and a CB and ... but then, I was talked out of it.
I had no money. Every cent I was earning was going towards moving to San Francisco. And they owed me a car and they weren’ t gonna buy me a 1970 Chevy van and even if they did it would probably be broken down and I’d be pushing it for street cleaning every week right now anyway.
So they bought you this 1990 ˝˝
Jesus Chrysler. My van is called “Jesus Chrysler.” And the Jack Saints have a song called “Jesus Chrysler.”
Is it a V-8 or a V-6?
Do you even know?? I’ll bet it’s a V-6. It is, isn’t it?
It’s a V-6.
I knew it!
So is there a big back to the thing or what?
One back seat’s in Southern California. I used to go dumpster diving and I found all these pillows and this padding thing I used to have in there. [mmmm... pillows from a dumpster. sounds like one hell of a nice bed. ˝ed]
But you couldn’t lay down in there.
It was just for looks.
It’s too small. That’s why I’m giving you SHIT, it’s a minivan, it’s too small.
Ahh, it’s not too small.
So tell me a sex story about it.
There are no sex stories. Lots of lonely nights. My story is a dull one. All I can say is that I like my minivan and I put like 16,000 miles on it in about a year. And it hasn’t fucked up on me yet except when I crashed it.
So you’re not embarassed at all about driving around in a minivan?
No, not at all. But it doesn’t look like a minivan anymore, it looks like some sort of broken down brown metallic thing on wheels. [Hey, what’s worse than a minivan? A decrepit, badly taken care of piece of shit minivan! ˝ed]
But its just funny cause you get inside and there’s little dice and toys and it’s kinda like mine inside. But then I have to remember.... it’s a fucking minivan!
Yes, I know.
That’s like... I don’t know...
A VW van or something. It’s so terrible, so evil!
Evil? But you know, Volvos are the safest cars in the world. But those are pretty terrrible too. I’d drive a Volvo and be proud.
God, you are a family man, aren’t you?
I’d drive anything that’d get me to where I’m going. Back in the desert I coulda bought some shit car for like 400 bucks and tried to restore it and have a garage to put it in and not have to worry about street cleaning and have to worry about getting anywhere important, but like, up here, I don’t wanna fucking break down on the way to Sacramento or on the way up to North Beach or something.
So basically, you’ve turned into your parents?
Yeah. My parents are nice people.
I just mean you’ve bought into the practicality thing.
Uh-huh. Yeah. I’m a practical person. I want a second car. If I get a parking garage, I want to get a second car. And have something good, something with a carburetor. Not a computer chip, like I have.
My car’s a minivan. It’s got no carburator. It’s got like some air-conversion system, uh... some really, complex thing where you have to take them to the dealer to get it fixed. But uh...
Cause it’s all about electronics anymore.
Want a flame job on your car? (teasing him)
The thing about my car is that if I put flames on it, or did anything with the paint...
You’d get pulled over, is that what you where gonna say?
No... my kinda car is not the kinda car that’s gonna go up in value, it’s gonna go down. So if I tried to re-sell it, or trade it in, I’m not gonna...
How old are you?? You sound like my dad, that’s what my dad says. I can’t stand it.
Yeah, but you know...
Gee, your whole interior is only totally thrashed...
If I had a Plymouth Valiant and I painted it and wanted to sell it, all I’d have to do is strip it and put primer on it, and it’d still be like a fucking great car. My car— if I did something weird to it ˝
Car. Ha ha, you keep calling it a ‘car’.
My van, if I did something to my van and then striped it and put primer on it, it’d be worthless cause it’s a piece of shit, fucking family car, it’s like only good for driving your family. Or getting somewhere... it’s like a practical car, it’s not something you could resell like with primer or with a weird paint job on it. [Gee, I had and sold a car like that once. It’s not that hard. ˝ed]
You’re gonna make a good father.
Hopefully one day I’ll have a nice little garage and I’ll be able to build hot rods and ...
A nice little garage with a picket fence, two dogs and two kids!
Mike: Let me just say that I was drunk and confused during the afore printed interview (which is now about three years old!) since then I have painted my minivan black, have made trips to Canada, Texas, and many to Southern California. Right now I am working on removing the back seats and installing a table and barrel seats! My van still lives while Beth’s “Torch” now has been put to pasture. Who has the last laugh now?
Epilogue Epilogue: Beth: Hmmm., since this interview Mike’s minivan has died and he is now “car”-less. Poor guy.