My car is messy. I know this because my three-year-old neighbor tells me this every Wednesday when it is my turn to drive the carpool to preschool. Every time. To preschool and home from preschool.
Naturally I knew this already, but just in case I didn’t, she informs me. With emphasis. And great detail. And tells me that her mommy’s car isn’t messy. Nor is her daddy’s. But mine is. “Why is your car so messy Miss J.J.? Why?”
Once I made sure to clean the car of any loose papers and items, and I even Windexed the windows and gave the insides a quick wipe down, including all the cup holders, but it still didn’t pass inspection. I hadn’t vacuumed.
I am not a clean car person.
I have a theory. There are two types of people in the world, and based on the fact that my neighbor has shown a preference at a young age, I think it is genetic. My mother is not a clean car person. My father is an obsessive clean car person. This may be one of the many reasons why they are divorced. Perhaps it is fortunate I married a person who has an even messier car than I do. Clearly I take after my mother, and clearly our children (who are not bothered by our messy cars) are doomed.
To people like my mother and I, cars are merely a tool — something that gets us from Point A to Point B. It also carries papers and any other items we need along the way from Point A to Point B which at various points in my life have included: make up, butane curling irons, snow boots, various types of changes of clothing, various types of shoes, miscellaneous bottles of water and Diet Coke, miscellaneous camera equipment, varying levels of baby/childcare equipment, an ever-rotating supply of paper products for Junior League/school/playdate/church meetings or parties, snacks for screaming children or mommies, sunscreen, wipes, bottles of bubble stuff, and so on. Then of course there seems to be an ever-present supply of drawings from school and half-dry paintings or crafts-covered-in-glue. You get the picture. It is not something I consider a part of my image and it is not something I really baby — I maintain the engine, but I don’t fuss over my car much. Then again, prior to this car I also had a history of totalling my cars when they reached 30,000 miles (NOT my fault, each time, just bad luck) so it’s not like I really had much time with them…
Then there are people like my father and my friend I’ll call J (no, not you Jules.) My father requires that if you bring something into the car you absolutely take it out of the car the millisecond he pulls into the garage. Even if you will need it the next time you go out. And when my friend J’s fiance asked her what she wanted for Christmas, she said a car detailing. She has her car detailed once a quarter and that was what she wanted. Even her fiance was stunned. I began to question whether I should remain friends with her but I decided to overlook this character flaw.
I have never had my car detailed. Never. I consider it really exciting when it is vacuumed when I take it to the car wash or to the dealership to be serviced.
When it was time to buy cars, I remember the salesman freaking out when I mentioned to my husband that the back of the Highlander would be great for our dog. The man practically shrieked, “Oh, I wouldn’t do that, that will decrease the resale value of your car!” Ha! I wonder if he looked underneath the carseats and took a gander at the number of Diet Coke stains in the front seat if his head would just explode. Dog hairs are the least of my troubles. I’m pretty sure driving the kids to Florida a few times by myself took care of “resale value” of the car.
Earlier today I was sitting in a dark parking garage, checking messages on my phone before going into an appointment and realized I had my keys in the ignition and doors unlocked and was a prime candidate for a carjacking. Then I laughed to myself as I thought what a carjacker would do. One look inside my car and he’d probably say, “Lady, go get your car detailed!”
See, having a dirty car has its pluses.