Since my dirty little secret was discovered by my Dad a couple of weeks ago, I’ll just come out and say it. The backseat of my car looks like a landfill. Okay, fine, if we’re being honest…my entire car looks like a landfill. So much random crap has somehow piled up, I don’t even know how it got there. My daughter gets about 10 letters a day from colleges and universities about available scholarships or why she should pick their institute. Toss it in the back. On top of that I get my own fair share of junk mail. Toss that in the back, too. Then, there’s leftover plastic and paper from the fast food we get all too often (who has time to cook these days?). What else is in the trash heap I call my car? Oh, empty plastic bottles. Lots of empty plastic bottles. We drink a lot of water and soda in that car.
Somehow, none of this stuff, not the mail nor the bags nor the bottles nor the balled-up napkins, seems to make it from my car to the place it belongs…the garbage can! So what ends up happening is whenever someone has to get into my car I have to apologize like an idiot and blurt out something dismissive like “Oh, ignore the mess!” as I sweep away enough of the debris so they can sit down without making a loud crunching sound. It’s bad enough when I have to shamefully clear space for a friend, but it’s even worse when a family member, like my aforementioned Dad, has to get into the car for some reason. My fear when he returned from his foray into the confines of my precariously overburdened vehicle was that he likely thought something along the lines of, “Is this what I’ve taught my daughter to be?” Why yes, Dad. This is me in all my glory.
It’s so bad I’m not even sure someone could ride in the backseat if they had to. Not without doing a massive cleanup effort first. At the very least I’d have to shove the mountain of refuse to the side and whoever’s unlucky enough to be stuck in the back would have to lean on the pile lest it consume them like a tidal wave if I take a turn too sharp.
Peppered throughout the mess are useful things, things I need. Things that just haven’t made it into the house yet but that I will eventually, most definitely need to use. Whenever I have to find one of these things I end up tossing litter over my shoulders while I swear up and down that tomorrow will be the day I finally get around to cleaning the car once and for all. It’s always tomorrow. And tomorrow never seems to come. The intention is there, it’s just the follow-through that’s lacking.
Recently, my daughter and I were driving to the sole convenience store in our rinky-dink little town. We were laughing because, just like every night after 8pm, the roads were pretty much deserted. It’s like the town rolls up the streets at dusk and a curfew goes into effect because nighttime is when the zombies come out — you know how they do. Oh, and in a complete and utter horror story mash-up, I must say that with the way this store is situated, when we leave and I look out across the parking lot to the other side of the main street, I fully expect to see Michael Myers standing there, under the street light, his hockey mask gleaming in the faded yellowish glow…or is that Jason over there? Why hello, Jason. Excuse me while I freak out a bit over here. That’s how creepy my town is after 8pm.
So anyway, on this particular night, after we were done in the store and getting back in the car, my daughter reminds me to look in the backseat just to make sure no zombies or axe murderers are hiding back there. Cause you never know. It’s always a good idea to look in the backseat. I mean, we’ve all seen the movies. We know how that ends.
Then I realized that even if a zombie or axe murderer or kidnapper wanted to hide in the back, they wouldn’t be able to hide. Too much junk! He’d be flailing around back there like a kid in a ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese, only noisier. At the very least, his presence would be quickly detected by the loud rustling, crinkling, and crunching from all of the discarded papers and plastic bottles. It would be very similar to the old Looney Tunes cartoons where all of the mousetraps or tacks are set out for the hapless victim…you just couldn’t miss one if you tried and hitting one would start a domino effect where you landed on another and another and another. It would give even the most stealthy of zombies away in a heartbeat…okay, well, ummm…maybe not a heartbeat since they’re zombies…but it would be pretty damn fast, let me tell you.
So, that’s the bright side I’m choosing to focus on. My car has its own handy-dandy alarm system that I installed myself one piece of junk mail at a time. It’s a rather cheap alarm, but damn if it’s not effective. And since the “trash” has been re-purposed as an anti-theft device, technically I’m also recycling at the same time. Go me!
Soooo…we’re clever, smart, frugal, AND most importantly – safe. A win-win situation…unless you’re a zombie.