Years and years ago, (well maybe eight or so years ago) my Aunt Bobbie told me that every time my Uncle Scott (her husband) saw a Mini-Cooper he told her about how his sister (My Aunt Pam) drives one. “Oh, look Bobbie. There’s a Mini-Cooper! You know Pam drives one of those.” We laughed about how it drove her crazy and wondered why he felt the need to tell her every single time he saw one. Little did I know that Aunt Pam driving a Mini-Cooper would become a huge part of my life. A few days later as Mike and I were driving, I saw a Mini-Cooper and remembered to tell him the story. He laughed with me and then pointed out the next Mini-Cooper he saw, “Hey Annie, you know Aunt Pam drives a Mini-Cooper.” This turned into a car game. I saw the next one, “Hey Mike…did you know my Aunt Pam drives a Mini-Cooper?” It was a little like Slug-Bug back in the day, but without the obnoxious arm punching! Fun!
Over time, it became too hard to point out a Mini and say ALL the words before the other person saw it first, plus it was inconvenient in the middle of a conversation. “Aunt-Pam-Mini-Cooper” became the appropriate phrase. We have at times, shortened it way down to “APMC.” This is not our favorite, but helpful when you’re riding in a car with other people who have no idea what the Hell you are saying when you excitedly point and scream, “Aunt-Pam-Mini-Cooper!” Even after you explain the whole story and game, they are usually just annoyed that you interrupted their story by pointing and screaming like a lunatic. A quiet, “APMC…” usually goes unnoticed by anyone other than the opponent, who sighs and curses themselves for missing it. It is hard to explain the sheer joy in seeing a Mini before your opponent does. How wonderful when you glance in the rearview mirror to see a Mini behind you that there is NO WAY the other person will notice – easy score! The same goes for a Mini on your side of the car that other traffic is blocking from the opponent – Gotcha! Haha!
“Right there! Red! Hahahaha!”
The ultimate, by far, is passing by a Mini-Cooper dealership. “Aunt-Pam-Mini-Cooper! Aunt-Pam-Mini-Cooper! Aunt-Pam-Mini-Cooper! Aunt-Pam-Mini-Cooper! Aunt-Pam-Mini-Cooper! Aunt-Pam-Mini-Cooper! Aunt-Pam-Mini-Cooper!” It is a rush you just can’t understand until you try it.
This game had made car trips exponentially more fun. It has helped dissolve arguments, and has helped us catch a really good laugh when one is needed. It has become very competitive, though it would be almost impossible to officially keep score. I am famous for cheating by APMCing vehicles that are NOT Mini-Coopers, and have done so with Jettas, PT Cruisers, BMWs, and even VW Bugs. Look, Mike usually kicks my ass so I have to try something! The only problem with this glorious game, is that you can’t STOP playing it. I play it when I’m in the car alone. I get mad when I see fifteen Mini-Coopers on my way to work in the morning because Mike isn’t there to hear me call them out, so they don’t count! I know he does the same, because we’ve talked about it for crying out loud. This crazy game has moved with us from Michigan to Nevada, has accompanied us to California, Rhode Island, Boston, Arizona and beyond. It has survived for eight plus years and has only gotten better. The fact that my Aunt Pam drives a Mini-Cooper has managed to impact my daily life. The game isn’t showing signs of going anywhere, that’s for sure. Our kids will probably play with us one day. (At least they will if they’re cool.) The funniest part of Aunt Pam Mini-Cooper, is that I don’t think my Aunt Pam has any idea that this game exists. Hell, I don’t even know if she still drives a Mini-Cooper at all. I don’t want to find out though, because “Aunt-Pam-Dodge-Journey” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.