mini matters

My friend Sandy is great. The most outgoing person you’ll ever meet who isn’t annoying, she’s the kind of person who was born with invisible pom-poms in one hand and an invisible Martini in the other: half Noel Coward and half Barbie.I was in her store a few months back, and she was telling me how much she was looking forward to getting her car paid off, ticking off the days on the calendar until FREE CAR DAY. Her eyes sparkled, even though they had glitter on the lids they sparkled from the eye part, the Sandy part, and although the glitter still sparkled it looked dull compared to the Sandy sparkle. And it was last year’s colours anyway.So a couple of months later I go back to the store. I generally don’t go so often, as I have little money with which to make purchases there, which is sort of why the store is there and why Sandy in particular is there, to sell stuff, which she rarely succeeds in doing to me, but then no-one does, much of ever.So back to the store I go, even though I still do not have any money. And there she is, Miss Yaletown, sparkling fit to beat the band, whatever the hell that means.“What’s up Sandy?”

“I just bought a new car!”


“Actually, I just bought two of them.”


“Well, my brother wanted a car for grad [I got a pen for mine] and the bus was not on with me, not after the first couple of times.”

“The Hastings?”

“You got it. Even the Davie. I’d just had enough, so I talked to my Dad and we thought we would get, like, a bulk discount if we bought two of the same car, one for me and one for Paul. He doesn’t care what kind of car he gets, anything I’d drive is good enough for him ’cause he doesn’t know what people in the Big City drive and he knows I’ve got that covered. I went next door, to the Mini dealership, and bought two. They were like, Sandy, don’t you want to take one for a drive first? Nope, I know what I want. I want a red one.”

Who could argue with that? The car has some powerful magical mojo; she was downtown today, doing makeup at a posh wedding, at a posh hotel, and as soon as she arrived she realized she’d forgotten her wallet. People in Vancouver don’t keep parking meter cash in their cars; well, dumb ones do, and they can never figure out how their windows get broken so often…anyway, she had not a sou. Couldn’t use the valet parking in case they paid by cheque and she couldn’t cash it in time. She was stuck.

But there was a spot right out front. She grabbed it, city-honed reflexes in control. She sprang from her Mini to the lobby, from the lobby to the elevator, from the elevator to the hallway, to the suite, to the bride herself, for whom she recited the tale (in doubletime) and from whom she begged a toonie. Out of the suite, into the hall, into the elevator, into the lobby, onto the sidewalk (doorman only just got the glass door in time) and thrust the toonie into the parking meter. It gave her an hour.

The job took two.

The bride tipped her $45, which she figured would pay for her parking ticket and enough for lunch. Back she went, out of the suite, into the hall, into the elevator, into the lobby, onto the sidewalk in front of the hotel, and there she saw it.

A piece of paper, tucked carefully under her windshield wiper. Picking her heart out of her shoes, she sulked her way over to the offensive scrap and wrenched it from her precious car. It read:

I put some money in your meter because my wife has a Mini just like this.

A friend mini matters
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9 thoughts on “mini matters

  1. You know, I’ve always been fond of them, since I was wee. Then again, I’ve always been wee and never got much bigger. I can see that they wouldn’t endear themselves to a six-footer. A friend of mine who is six feet tall tells me he loves his wee SmartCar. 400 clicks on a twenty of gas. And everyone who drives them loves them too.

  2. She is indeed and can be reached by means of this pseudonymous story at the BeautyMark store in Yaletown. Just tell them this story and they’ll pass it on to the right cosmetologist.

    Also, tell her I actually spent money there today. I’m a repeat windowshopping offender, so she’ll be relieved. Also, she doesn’t think I ever get real money.

  3. The mini isn’t bad for size (you can push the seats back further than any other car I’ve ever seen). There just some design issues about where all the controls are located that bug me. :)

    It’s purely an impractical dislike, not over something practical like “I don’t fit in the car”.

  4. There are some interesting parallels between the old and new mini.

    The original mini was an attempt to find parking space in London.

    The new model was built by BMW–the guys who helped try to turn London into a parking lot.

    The current Mini is an oversized (and successful) attempt to cash in on retro cool. But there’s only one real mini.

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