Summer Stories, Part V: Van-Tastic
Note: I'm still trying to chill out from yesterday. Spending the morning going through some vicious hate mail and deleting comments that threaten other commenters. I've moved this post to the top just to take the edge off things, until I can get around to making a real post later.
[All I wanted to do was share this one link with you and it turned into a novel]
The summer between my junior and senior years in high school, I dated a guy I'll call Dave.
I dated Dave for a few weeks and while I wasn't falling in love with the guy, we enjoyed each other's company and had some good times together.
We went to the beach a lot. I hated the beach, but sacrificed for Dave because he had this notion that he was a surfer dude and surfer dudes belonged with the sea and sand.
We drove to the beach each day in Dave's van. Now, this was the late 70's. Vans were all the rage. No, not Ford Econoline vans borrowed from your father's flooring business, but custom vans, the kind with beds and beaded curtains.
Dave loved his van as much as he loved the surf. Every Saturday he would go to the custom van shop and add something to his masterpiece; some new pinstriping, etchings on the windows, another mural.
One side of the van was dedicated to the Allman Brothers. The other side was dedicated to the beach. It was psychedelic, man. All the intricate artwork made me think of the van as a car with tattoos.
The inside of the van was treated with even more reverence than the outside. The floor was carpeted and taken up mostly by a queen size mattress made pretty with a blanket crocheted in the twenty colors of the acid-trip rainbow. The aforementioned beaded curtains separated the front of the van from the back, so whatever Dave's friends were doing to their girlfriends while Dave was driving them around remained private. There were velvet posters on the walls and a mirror on the ceiling and pink champagne on ice. No, not really. But it was gaudily decorated in the sex-me-up theme so prevalent in that era.
So one day we arrive back home after a day at the beach and Dave turns around to me and says very nonchalantly:
I think we should stop seeing each other.
I can't really date anyone right now.
Ok, that's cool and all, but umm...kind of out of nowhere?
Sure, my ego was crushed, but not for the reason you think. See, I had never had a guy break up with me. I was always the breaker-upper. I considered dating someone while still in high school more of a social activity than anything else. While all my friends were falling deeply, passionately in love at the age of 16, I was just looking for someone to hang out with. The idea of being in a committed relationship while still basically a kid seemed like a joke to me. Haha, funny to break up with all those guys, I know. Some joke. Ok, I''ll be really honest here: The first time any guy tried to get to first base with me, I dumped him. I was too self centered to care about some teenage boy's hormones.
Anyhow, crushed ego.
Well, I have my reasons. And it's not because you don't put out.
Dude, that mattress is skanky. I wouldn't lay down on that thing even if you promised me the moon. Which you did, by the way, and never followed through.
Yea, well. I didn't have a long enough ladder.
So what's the deal then? Why are you dumping me?
I just don't think it's fair to you. I'm really devoted to my van. That's what I want to spend my money on and my time with.
Insert stifled giggle here.
Your van? You are dumping me for your van?
Yes, I wanted to be honest with you about it. And fair.
My god, your nobility is bringing tears to my eyes.
Do you always have to be so sarcastic?
So Dave dumped me for his van. I still hung out with him, though and every Saturday I would go to Dave's house to check on the progress he was making with his wife/van. One day I got to his house and the van was gone.
Where's the van?
I sold it to Keith?
WHAT? How could you? I thought you loved that thing?
Barbara (his new girlfriend) said it was either her or the van.
I guess Barbara puts out.
Somewhere in there is a lesson.
[the link that spawned this memory. Somewhere in my archives are other summer stories, which I'll categorize some day]