Home » Stories we tell » PIMP MY RIDE, BABY!


I think it was the minivan.

Yes!  It was the evil minivan!


Somewhere along the way, when you lower yourself  remove any self-esteem from your being agree to drive a minivan, the joy of driving dis-inhabits your body.  Since the minivan, I have had a series of cars that have been fine.




Since when was driving about “fine”?

For the last two months I have been driving what we had provided for our daughter to drive.  Get this:  a 1994 Jeep Wrangler.  32″ tires.  Standard transmission.  Speakers added to the back posts.  Everything comes off when it is nice out, including the doors.

Jeep 1

OOOOOO MMMMMMM GGGGGG!  This is THE most fun car in the world to drive.  In town.  Where there are a lot of stop lights.

It is not a smooth ride.  It is not easy to change the radio station or turn the music up or down while bouncing along the road.  But it IS a car that draws attention.

When we first bought this Jeep, Stephen took it down to Alive at Five in Albany with Dennis.  He came home and gleefully told me, “Claire, EVERYONE looks at you when you pull in!!”  In my mind, I said “Mid-life crisis that I can live with.”

But now I drive this same vehicle, and all I can say is… EVERYONE looks at you when you pull in!  It is soooooo much fun to drive!


I have learned that wearing a skirt to work is not a good idea.

Especially when, as a suburban woman, you lock the car doors at work.  And when you go out to get into your SERIOUSLY cool car, a colleague walks by and says, “Claire, really?  That’s what you drive?”  Me, “Yep!  Why save the fun for the kids?”  As you realize the key does not open the door.  Stand by the cool car, very coolly, maybe still some swagger, till the colleague turns the corner, then you pop open the back hatch and haul yourself over the back seat, with a skirt on.

I love being me.  Cool attempts, fun car, but still just me.  Like my friend Cathy used to say, “When a bird poops on me, it’s not good luck.  It’s just God reminding me that I am Cathy.”

Check me out at a stop light on Western, and I will definitely give a cool nod of the head.


About Claire Ziamandanis

Claire Ziamandanis is Professor of Spanish at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. Over her 20 years at the college, she has been a champion for study abroad, establishing the first affiliation for Spanish students, and then working with the Study Abroad office to open the doors to students from other majors. Claire loves travel, food, wine and Spanish but not necessarily in that order!


  1. Loved this and especially like you and your attitude!

  2. Stephen Ziamandanis

    Glad you are enjoying the Jeep

  3. Stephen Ziamandanis


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Scroll To Top