Peeling Out

Is it a gender thing or a personality difference that determines the condition of our car interiors?

I’ve written about it before, how Dearly Beloved gets the heeby jeebies whenever we eat anything in his car.  And he wonders why I eat fast!  It’s downright creepy, having him sneak peeks at me to make sure no dropped crumb lies unretrieved.  Like I’ve said, a hamburger with chili and slaw would probably make the man ill. . . and I’D be the one eating it.

He loves his car, but I consider it transportation.  It gets us where we’re going in all its sterile, pristine glory.

MY car has everything but a bathroom, since I’m not one to carry the old coffee can.  I don’t have to–I don’t have the “let’s drive straight through without stopping” MENtality.  Food, drink, music, books –print and CD’s–,  puzzles and pens, tissues, napkins, medicines,  first aid supplies, dog treats, plastic bags, and miscellaneous supplies await and that’s just what is available in the obvious places.  Candy?  Reach between the seat and console and pull out some loose M&M’s. Ignore the petrified French fries.

DB calls it a disaster.  I consider it a way station on wheels.

Our daughters’ cars are much like mine, only they also have Goldfish, sports equipment, and school papers in theirs.  Like DB, our son and the sons-in-law consider it time to clean out the car if there is a coffee cup in a cup holder.  In other words, if we’re taking a trip and have to sit in stalled traffic, we can admire the unblemished floor mats in the guy car or party with the girls.

How could there even be a question?   Maybe it isn’t gender OR personality.  It’s simply SMARTS.

No one in the family is into fancy cars (unless we count the just turned nine-year-old grandson who ignored rattles as a tot and holds a Hot Wheel in each fist in every toddler photo.)   Different story when our kids were teenagers and told us we were inflicting cruel and unusual punishment and ruining any chance of cool-idity by providing them no transportation other than the (GASP!) family station wagon.  It’s a wonder we didn’t stunt their growth.

Daughter Boo was the worst.  OH, the humiliation of having to drive the “green bomb“!  It amuses me no end to find her driving a nondescript grey van whenever we visit.

Son and his Weimaraner puppy, Stella, visited last week and it is always a curiosity to see his car. Yes, this is our Mr. Clean, Neat and Tidy, Must-Check-the-Weave-of-the-Fabric-Before-It-Goes-on-My-Body and What-Is-the-Brand Name? son.

His car is an Infiniti with over 200,000 miles on it.

He was involved in an accident several months ago, so it is a badly bruised Infiniti.   His previous car had even more mileage and had no dashboard, thanks to his previous dog, a Dalmation who liked to eat dashboards.  The floor mats were clean, but one could lift them and watch the miles go by–literally.

It rained almost the entire time he was here.  When we went anywhere, it was in DB’s car–no dogs, of course–so I’d paid no attention to Son’s car and was surprised when he said he had to leave before lunch.  He usually claims he prefers to drive at night.  I asked him why the change.

“It  just seems more prudent to drive during daylight hours if one’s headlights are taped in,” he informed us.

When we walked him outside, I looked at the front of his car. Right out of Family Vacation.  As a matter of fact, in a Family Vacation moment, the hood had flown up at some point during his travels and now the corners near the windshield curled rakishly in 70’s style,  like cat-eye glasses.  The headlights were indeed taped in.


I watched in astonishment as he meticiously spread a huge tarp to completely cover the entire backseat, floor, and back of the front seat for the dog.  I didn’t even have to look in the front seat to know there was nothing there.  Prankster that I am, I handed him a banana and some granola bars.  He probably went nuts trying to decide what to do with the peel.



9 thoughts on “Peeling Out

  1. Sharon

    I think the clean car thing is personality and upbringing. My Dad is a car neatnik. And, so am I. 🙂 The only thing that comes to my mind about MENtality and cars is the problem that men have asking for directions! And, I guess if the car has a GPS lady in it…they probably wouldn’t use it!

  2. I may have to blog about this.
    Add a contact lens case and some solution, and the emergency car knitting to your list and that is my car. My son had the nerve one morning recently to say to me as they squeezed themselves and their backpacks into my car so we could chase down the bus, “If you would just get this KNITTING out of here…..”
    Good thing we caught the bus right then, because at that moment if I had to choose between him and the knitting, it would not have been one of my finer Mom moments.

    1. Kim: Oh, the knitting is always there. Didn’t count that because it’s sort of like my driver’s license: I don’t leave home without it. I hadn’t thought to have an EMERGENCY knitting project always in the car though. Yep, I’m dealing with a pro here.
      Sharon: What about your MOTHER’S car? Surely she carries a book!
      Rita: I love it when someone says I make them laugh out loud. 🙂
      Carolyn: I won’t hold the clean car against you. That’s probably where you escape when the Golden Retriever hair starts forming tumbleweeds, huh?
      Love you all! Thanks for coming!

  3. renovatingrita

    Okay I kept it together until the last line then the laugh escaped like I took a blow to the stomach. My hubby looked at me suspiously cuz it was downright evil sounding. My goodness I enjoy your writing!

  4. It’s a personality thing, not a gender thing. Both my husband and I have clean cars. I am totally in love with my car. She handles these mountain curves like she was born here. That is, when she’s not behind folks with what you called “old fartitis.”

    Your son’s car looks a lot like my son’s old car. He actually received “total” payment from the insurance because of the extensive damage from getting caught in a severe hail storm. The estimates for repairs exceeded the cost of the car. Needless to say he drove it dented for many many more miles. Now he has a Mini and treats it with extreme care. What a difference a new car makes.

  5. I love how you tell a story! Great post. And I like what you said about your daughter and “the green bomb” and what she is driving now. I can’t wait to see what my daughter ends up driving when she’s a mom because at 17 she doesn’t want to be caught dead driving my “ugly beatle.” (which in MY day meant a VW Bug but she’s commenting on my Volvo station wagon)

  6. Waystation on wheels! I love that Mary Lee. When I had my own Suburban that’s what it was like too — even had a cooler in the console between the front seats. Drove Mr. Johnson nuts!

  7. Birdie

    After 40 years, I still don’t know what hubby means when he asks as we are stopped at the gas pump, “Do you have anything?” Anything what??? “trash for the trash can, like the cup you got at the last pit stop. ” OH, say I, hmm, no not that I can find (below the knitting bag, the purse, the traveling purse, and the map and who knows what else.) Why would we throw it out now, can’t I just GO to the bathroom???????

  8. I’ve never gotten too emotionally attracted to any of the cars we’ve owned over the years. Although we always buy new, they all grow dented scratched and old before their time, because they are usually parked on a city street or even worse, a parking lot! It’s almost a relief when the new car gets the first scratch, because then we can relax and not worry about it anymore.
    I keep the inside pretty clean but the trunk is filled with every possible thing needed in an emergency ..blanket, rain ponchos, first aide kit, hat, gloves, recycle bags, rope, paper towels, ice scraper broom, pretzels, water bottles, disposable camera, umbrellas, maps…’s a whole arsenal in there!
    I never though of knitting…now that’s a great idea! 🙂

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