I drive a minivan, which is bad enough. (Don't get me wrong - I love the thing - it just takes the last little bit of my pre-mom awesomeness and stomps it into the ground.)
But what's worse than driving a minivan is driving one with a bunch of kids inside. You know, on account of the stale french fries and crumpled school papers and wrappers and spills in the back seat that nobody mentions until you climb back there where you can actually see it weeks later and you're like, "WHAT in the HELL?"
And the worst part of all that is the bickering.
It's like there's some unwritten rule: when kids sit close enough to touch one another, they will. Especially if the sibling whines about it. Apparently in kid language, a cry of, "Mooooom! He's touching meeeee!" translates roughly into, "Please keep annoying me because I don't think we've driven our parents crazy enough."
When you have few enough kids, you can seat them so that there's space in between, and everyone is fine. But when you have lots of kids or some extra passengers, and you have to rearrange the seating so that people are actually sitting shoulder-to-shoulder? All hell breaks loose. Commence rapid-fire, high-pitched complaining about the following:
- Being breathed on
- Being looked at
- Being touched by an elbow or knee
- Being leaned on
- Being touched by more than one millimeter of someone else's clothing
- Being too close to someone so "disgusting" and "stinky"
- Being hot
- Being stuffy
But that's not all. Because kids seated in close proximity to one another can take the smallest of things and snowball it into a complaint so fast that the previous complaint has barely had time to escape their lips. Like "He's coughing without covering his mouth!" or "He's putting his feet on me!" or the all-encompassing king of complaints, "He's bothering me!"
Like many parents, I try to keep my cool when this situation arises, but y'all? My "cool" lasts somewhere around two minutes before I morph into the kind of mom that only such bickering can bring out. My head swivels around like an owl's and I snarl at them through gritted teeth to knock it off, following up with whatever threat sounds the most ominous. If I don't already have a headache from the incessant arguing, I get one from threatening too hard. It's a no-win situation.
So I came up with a solution. I think next time we take some sort of trip where they're forced to sit too close, I'm going to buy a few of these - you know, those boards you use for science fairs and such?
I'm calling it a "Carbicle." It's like a cubicle, only in the car. And like a cubicle, it would separate one person from the rest. As you can see below, I've created a very precise and scientific drawing as an example of how it's going to work.
My theory is that if they can't see each other, they won't argue.
Well, not as much, anyway.
Well, at least until someone tries to peek or breathe or poke their fingers around the perimeter of the Squabble Buffering Zone.
... Well, crap.