Things My Kids Won't Know

I'm Kev. This is a list of things I did that my kids will never experience.
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52. Seats in the Trunks of Station Wagons

I have these relatives that I don’t talk to anymore, because they’re terrible people. But when I was a kid, I was forced to hang out with them. Some of my worst memories from childhood involve being in or around their household.

There was one positive experience, however, which may just make up for all the terrible ones. Every once in a while, when my sister and I got left at their house, we’d all have to go for a drive somewhere. And on special days, we’d take the station wagon.

Of course, this kinda fun memory is also partially tainted with a stupid one. The other two kids, our cousins, had this game they’d play, where they’d “search” for hidden driveways. When you came across one, whoever yelled out “hidden driveway” first got a point.

Thing was, they knew where all the hidden driveways were, because they lived there, and we never found any, because by definition, a hidden driveway is, well, hidden. So they’d get all the points and we’d just sit there looking like dopes.

In any case, the one shining spot in this otherwise miserable ordeal was the station wagon itself. I don’t know if it was rare or not because I admittedly don’t know much about station wagons, but it was one of those models that had seats in the trunk that faced out the back.

If you’ve ever ridden in one of these, I don’t need to explain how awesome it is. If you haven’t, I won’t be able to do it justice. The closest thing I can compare it to is riding in a school bus, sitting in the last row, and turning around to look at people through the window in the back door.

This was better than that though, because you didn’t even have to turn around. The seats were just facing out the back. And instead of being high up in a bus, you were at direct eye level with the people driving the car behind you.

I can’t quite explain why this phenomenon was so great, but man, was it ever. You’d be stopped at a red light, and you’d start making faces at the people behind you, and there was nothing they could do. They’d have to start trying to avoid eye contact but eventually they’d have to look forward again.

While my idiot cousin would always take it too far and start flipping people off, I was perfectly content sticking my tongue out, or in some cases just waving. What a polite and gentlemanly little fella I was.

Eventually the ride would be over, and I’d be forced to go back to the house and try to survive the situation until my parents retrieved me. There were so many brutal experiences but one really sticks out.

My uncle, let’s call him “Bob” (that’s his name) was one of those guys who had a train collection. This is something I’ll never understand. If you’re above the age of four and you have a train collection and you’re not Gomez Addams, something is definitely off.

So one day we were down in the basement where all the trains were, unsupervised, and my cousin turned them on. I was probably like nine at the time, and I thought anything motorized was cool, so I ran around the track following alongside the train.

For reasons I don’t really recall, the train hopped the track. I caught the first car and tried to catch the rest of them as they tumbled to the floor. Bob heard the commotion and came down into the basement, and he was livid. I got yelled at a lot when I was a kid but this was something else. There was screaming, spit flying, and veins bursting out of his neck.

I was terrified. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to be down there, but that’s totally unacceptable. And seriously, they’re trains and I was nine and he was an adult. Like, get a grip. I don’t care if they were expensive. If you have toys, and they are expensive, and a kid plays with them and damages them, you have no right getting mad BECAUSE THEY ARE TOYS. And as someone who has more toys adorning my apartment then I care to admit, I can assure you, I practice what I preach.

Anyway, station wagon seats. I could go on with a million more stories about how awful that place was, but let’s focus on the positive – namely sweet, sweet station wagon seats. If I had a ton of money, I’d totally buy an old one and have my chauffer drive me around as I sat in the back, making faces at people. Or waving. If I’m part of the 1%, I can’t be too braggy about it.

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