What I Talk About When I Talk About My Van Inspection - JJ Landis
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What I Talk About When I Talk About My Van Inspection

Stream of consciousness as I sit in a waiting room at the car dealership waiting for my MV (that’s minivan) to pass its annual inspection.

Lee and I still call it the “purple van” even though we traded the amethyst-colored ride in a few years ago for a silver MV. We also still call our front living room “the red room” even though I painted it beige about four years back. Mostly we do this to confuse our children.


“Aging illness.” A phrase I hear on the deafening Kathie Lee & Hoda show as I drink coffee from Styrofoam and try but fail to ignore the TV with the volume set to be heard a hundred yards away. It’s all I can do not to grab the remote and mute. Apparently aging is now an illness to be fixed, healed, avoided.
K.L. and H. are dedicating the entire hour to interviews and discussion about plastic surgery and all manner of nips and tucks. I keep hearing “self-esteem.” Sigh. Why can’t I, at 42, just embrace my bubbly butt and gray hair? I have yellow teeth and I know it.
Who are we kidding? Are pretty people happier? Has that been proven? (Has it?)
If there is no roll hanging over my waistband, are my chances of heaven greater? Does Jesus love me more if my smile sparkles? Two more quotes from the TV and then I will try harder to disregard its blaring:
“Everyone everyone everyone is doing procedures to make them look better.”
(Really? Are they? And does three “everyones” mean more people somehow than one?)
“Chin implants are very important in balancing out a man’s face.”
(What good is a man if his face is unbalanced? That’s what I always say.)


It’s exhausting and I just can’t compete!


So glad my husband loves my brain and body, flawed as they may be. So glad I’m able to love his brain and body too. I’ve never even noticed if his face is balanced. I will be sure to check that next time I see him.

Let’s see – are these faces balanced?


I have had a headache since I woke up. Took a nap at 9 this morning for 20 minutes, trying to fight it off. Swallowed four Advil and one Exedrin so far today (it’s 10:30 a.m.). Still hurts. This will ruin my day, for sure. I know that sounds negative. My sister would say, “Don’t receive that!” But what I have learned is my headaches last about 24 hours, no matter what.


This morning Alex and Emma shared the last three waffles, leftover from yesterday. I said Alex could have two and Emma one. Alex prepared them. Got plates and forks. Toasted the waffles. Dispensed about a cup of syrup per waffle. (Hey, breakfast is the most important meal – may as well fill it with calories from sugar, right?) Emma screamed injustice but I told her that Alex is older and usually eats more so, “Fair, shmair, little girlie!”

When I entered the kitchen, both kids were perched at the island, forks in hand, with one and a half waffle each. Emma said, “Alex shared his and even gave me the bigger half.” What a kid. I pray for him that his generous heart won’t be taken advantage of.


Talked to my daddy yesterday for the first time in months. He doesn’t call. I don’t call. It’s disheartening. He said, “Looking forward to seeing you at Thanksgiving.” I said, “Oh, we weren’t planning a trip to Florida this year.” He, in his 76-year-old voice, said, “Oh, okay.”

An hour later, I had a house reserved, vacation days marked on Lee’s work calendar, and school release forms completed for a trip to Florida over Thanksgiving. Funny, the pull of a parent.


My favorite blog these days is called Confessions of a Funeral Director. This young guy has loads of insight into the human condition that many of us will never get, save for reading his blog.


A service employee just came into the waiting room to retrieve a woman zoning out on the riveting plastic surgery show. “I’m sorry. We drove it for six miles and can’t replicate the problem.” I felt like I shouldn’t be hearing the diagnosis. Hasn’t her privacy been violated? Aren’t there HIPPA laws for automobiles?


Brought the laptop to the car dealership so I could work on my book. Blogging this random nonsense instead. How long will it take me to write my book if I write one word a day? That’s tricky math though because I suppose I would delete two words a day. Hmmm. One could call this task impossible. Sisyphus-esque.


I saw a bookmark that said: “My life. My story.” I lapped it up as encouragement to keep pecking away at The Memoir. I am the only one who lived my life – and it’s been interesting enough that it, if worded correctly, could inspire, teach, entertain someone.
However, I changed my outlook a few days ago – this is absolutely “my life.” But because I have surrendered my life to God, it’s not “my story” anymore, it is His. So I should stop focusing so much on my inability to write well, my hang-ups about my experiences being worthy enough (or not) to pen, and my hurts and stupid mistakes that are going to be unearthed and exposed.
It’s not all about me, after all. Gasp! I will indeed trip up this process. The nugget of encouragement shall be modified: “My life. His story.” If I focus on Jesus Christ, then whatevs! The story will come out in words or it won’t.

My head still hurts. Been in this waiting room an hour now. Enjoying it though, because I had the nerve, after the HIPPA-violated woman left, to ask the other person whose face was hidden by a novel, if she minded my turning down the TV. Whew. The mindless babble has been muted, so my mindless babble can be written! The quite soothes my head. I should just close my eyes… I enjoy this sitting. This stillness.


Have a glorious Wednesday, my dear readers. Many of us have shipped our darlings back to school this week. May you embrace the season you find yourself in and not wish the days away.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 09:56h, 30 August Reply

    so this is what goes on in that pretty head of yours….Lee

  • Brenda Lazzaro Yoder,
    Posted at 16:49h, 29 August Reply


    It’s so good to read these words. I’m often so saddened by the effort of people to stop the effects of time. I’m bothered that Vanna still wears evening gowns and Suzanne Sommers wears mini-mini skirts even thought she can. And the beauty you take the time to put into words will minister to people every where at just the right time. It will give people hope, which lasts a lot longer than a botox injection.

  • Donna
    Posted at 15:22h, 29 August Reply

    Wow, JJ, such inspirational words, and all because you were subjected to an hour in the automobile waiting room. Blessings to you and thanks for sharing!!!

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