If I was an action figure, what would my accessories be?
My wife always goes to sleep before me. Sometimes, when she’s lucky, I sing her a lullaby to help her transition into dream mode, to coax her into visions of happy clouds and riding unicorns. Of course, I only serenade her with original songs that I sing as I compose them, on the spot. Last week, with Avatar fresh on my mind, I sang to her in my finest Styx performing Mr. Roboto voice:
“Nothing can prepare you for the unicorn ride of your life
So put on your purple jump suit and watch a pterodactyl fly by
Because nothing can prepare you for the unicorn ride of your life”
Then she asked, “How can I prepare for the unicorn ride when you just said nothing could ever prepare me?”
She made a good point. The only disadvantage of having the ability to make up and sing Grammy award winning songs on the spot, is that sometimes I forget the lyrics I’ve already sang earlier in the same song.
Ironically, I was the one who wasn’t prepared. As for the rest of the time, in everyday life, I am prepared. Because from 1st grade to 5th grade, I was in Cub Scouts and one of our main mottos was Be Prepared”. Evidently, that has become a law of life for me.
Take my car, for example:
Honda Elements have been compared to a lot of things: a boot, a shoe, a toaster, a box. And I’m okay with that, because after 4 ½ years of owning one, I am still in love. And when the day comes to get a new vehicle, my plan is to simply buy another Honda Element.
I have transformed my already versatile duckbill-platypus-like SUV into the vehicular equivalent of a Swiss army knife. It’s time to take a tour of my Honda Element and see what I keep on hand at all times, just in case I need it…
Typically I keep one backseat always folded up so I can have my mountain bike with me. It stays secured between the wall and other seat. The blue t-shirt helps prevent scuff marks on my seat from the bike and doubles as an emergency back-up shirt.
The way I got that shirt was way back in the summer of 1998 when I went on a mission trip to Ecuador. One of the old t-shirts I had packed for the trip was one that I got from a church youth conference from the summer of 1993. It was a white t-shirt with the phrase “JESUS IS FOR NOW” on it. And that’s all it said. (In Junior High, my classmate Scott Rothell joked with me: “Jesus is for now; Satan is for later”. He was a funny guy.)
So when I was in Ecuador, a guy my age (17 at the time) saw me wearing the “Jesus is for now” t-shirt and said he liked it so much that he wanted it. Because I have developed a friendship with him that week doing skits in city squares and painting schools, I negotiated a t-shirt trade.
He let me look through the old t-shirts he brought along, and the blue one was the one I chose: “Con Amor de Tennessee a Temuco, Chile” (With love from Tennessee to Temuco, Chile”. Which was the official t-shirt my friend got from a previous mission trip. It remains a comfortable t-shirt after the 12 years of me owning it.
Behind my passenger seats is where I keep my helmet. In the cubbies on the sides, I have an old atlas I stole from work, a bandana (for days I don’t feel like wearing a hat but want to cover my head- works well in sweaty or rainy situations).
This is also where I keep my bike maintenance tools and restaurant coupons (which I’ve made several copies of on a color copier so I can reuse them). As well as flyers for selling my house. And an atlas in case my GPS stops working. And windshield defroster spray. Plus a back-up t-shirt just in case…
In the backseat that is not folded up I keep a black fedora. Because this kind of hat will instantly make me look classier if need be, even if I’m wearing a t-shirt and jeans. Plus an old baseball cap I got in 11th grade (1997), as well as a new stylish hat that my mother-in-law mailed me on my birthday. The right hat for the right situation is key to being a model citizen.
Underneath the seat I keep my Birkenstocks (Christmas present from my parents in 1999). They make the perfect back-up shoes in case I’m wearing nice shoes and it starts to rain. In the rear side doors, I keep two books at all times. Just in case I need to kill some time. One is about speed reading, the other is about “reading people”.
In between the two front seats, I keep some musk incense I bought at an Indian grocery store, to help keeping my Element smelling like a forest. I received the toothpaste and toothbrush from my most recent dentist visit- always good to keep around. And of course it is vital to always have nail clippers handy.
The plastic cup remains empty. Maybe I’ll end up in a place where there’s water but nothing to put it in. Then the cup saves the day.
I put Velcro on the back of my iPod (with an FM radio receiver so I can listen to it through my stereo speakers) and my steering wheel so it’s always right in front of me.
In the hidden cubby next to my steering wheel, I keep a few spare wedding rings (made out of hemp) just in case I ever forget to wear my actual one. Next to some papaya supplements to aid indigestion (for my pregnant wife).
Up in the front passenger dashboard caddy, I keep sugar-free gum, business cards (mainly so I can write my website on them to give to people I meet who after talking to me, are curious about my website). And a bendable Pink Panther- just because he is awesome. He is my animal cartoon role model.
There are also some pictures from my wife and I from exactly a year ago when we met her aunt in Chattanooga. The felt letters say “amp” but they used to say “camp”. But the “c” fell off and I never found it. I just wanted to enhance the “camp” theme of my car.
Lastly, in the passenger seat of my Element, I keep my Gap one-strap bookbag. Inside are my laptop, earphones, camera, Bible, and whatever the main current book is that I’m reading at the time. I usually bring the bookbag with me when I take my mountain bike for a ride so I can be prepared to entertain myself if I need a break.
With the exception of my TV and my Wii and guitar and my clothes which are in the house, the things I keep in my Element are my earthly possessions. My Element is like an overnight bag. Like a turtle’s shell. My action figure’s accessories.
And one more thing… Now that you’ve read my take on Honda Elements, why not read my perspective on being a dad? That’s right- parenting from a dad’s point of view. I have been documenting my thoughts as a dad since the week we found out my wife was pregnant. I formally invite you now to read my “dad blog” by clicking on the link below:
dad from day one