Wait, did you clean out the car?
So in the spirit of WRITING, rather than editing, I'll tell you about cleaning out my car, or, as I have come to fondly call it, purging the crapwagon.
I joke that it looks like I live in my car. But a lot of people make that joke.
You know what just dills my pickle?
You know what just tickles my giblets?
When I climb into some leather-smelling sedan completely devoid of dust on the dashboard, and my friend pulls a single copy of The New Yorker off the passenger seat and she's like, "Oh my gosh I'm sorry my car is just DISGUSTING... I basically live in here," and then she gets all flustered because a New Yorker subscription postcard fluttered onto the cup holders and she's like "Aaaaah I'm sorry! I'm such a mess!"
And then I sneak a peek in the cup holder after she grabs the postcard, and the cup holder doesn't even have a sticky paste in the bottom of it or even a single penny cemented in the sticky paste so Abraham Lincoln looks like Han Solo trapped in carbonite, like screaming HELP ME from the bottom of the cup holder. And there's not even any sand in there, or even a single scone crumb.
Her cup holder looks like a cup holder in a brain surgery theater. Like it might have been boiled recently and then buffed dry with a sunglasses cleaning cloth.
But she says, "It looks like I LIVE in here!" And I smile and laugh and keep up my end of the script: "Are you kidding? Your car is spotless! You should see mine!" I keep it light, but as I stretch my legs out into the vast emptiness of the passenger seat leg area, I think, you will never, ever ride in my car.
When I say that it looks like I live in my car, I mean that there's a toothbrush in the cup holder and we've run out of TP in the backseat. I mean that my car carries an assortment of footwear appropriate for any activity in any season, swimming in the object stew through which my children must wade daily as they climb in and out of their car seats.
Tonight as I cleaned out the car I pulled out three pairs of flip flops in varying sizes. In Chicken's size, I also pulled out a right-foot rain boot, a right-foot hiking boot, a right-foot light-up sneaker, and one of those muscular sandals that river guides wear. Also right foot. (He likes to take off his right shoe so he can roll his window down with his toes. Because he is living his best life.)
When I say that it looks like I live in my car, I mean that I once was inspired by a Real Simple magazine in line at the grocery store and attempted to install organizational objects to "tame the chaos and clutter" in my car.
When I say that it looks like I live in my car, I mean that my car has a storage system that has already completed its storage system life cycle: Adopted, implemented, and immediately abandoned.
There are like 2 pieces of mail in the designated box for mail, and a single Larabar wrapper in the "mobile trash bin." Everything else is in the aforementioned object stew, chiropractic invoices crusted with toddler boot prints, unopened thank-you notes as browned and wrinkled as the top of a pumpkin pie.
When I say that it looks like I live in my car, I mean that I have a tortilla warmer in my car. Not, like, out, because how often do you really need the tortilla warmer? And our counter space is pretty limited. But yeah, we have one in storage. On hand. For when we need it. In the car.
When I say that it looks like I live in my car, I mean that the dirty laundry to clean laundry ratio in my car (when I am sitting in the car wearing clean clothes) is consistent with the dirty laundry to clean laundry ratio in my house (when I am sitting in the house wearing clean clothes.)
I'm saying that, in my car, I put my coffee cup on top of a stack of mail that I will NEVER EVER READ but I also feel like maybe I'll have time to read someday and there might be something in there that's super useful. I'm talking about 6 months of Consumer Reports. I'm talking Costco Connection.
I'm saying that I'm thankful every single day that I climb into my car and do not find it infested with ants, mice, or the portly-bordering-on-spherical squirrels who roll around the picnic grounds at Green Lake. There's plenty to sustain the vermin on the floor mats alone - peanut butter crackers, raisins, dried out hunks of cheese browning at the corners, whole, leathery tortillas that were once pillowy warm. #callbacktothetortillawarmer #didntnailit
I'm saying that there have been ill-advised attempts to decorate the car with festive seasonal touches and the Christmas light window clings didn't come down until March. And when I say "come down" I mean "fall down into the object soup and immediately become encrusted with long, spidery head hairs still brandishing their white nubby follicles, sand, and cracker crumbs."
It's a natural phenomenon, actually, the velocity with which my car hurtles toward entropy after I attempt to restore order.
I wake up on the day after I take three bags of trash and six bags of clothes, books, toys, "art" (and I need to have a chat with Teacher June about our definition of "art" because that piece of construction paper with a single blue marker dot in the corner? You don't need to put that in our cubby, Miss June. You can just make it disappear. Because another unbelievable property of "the car" is that once an object crosses the threshold of the car, it becomes a priceless treasure slash The One Ring and cannot be discarded or destroyed without first undertaking to smuggle it unseen beneath the great lidless eye of Lord Chicken, and I'm not a Hobbit except at elevensies and ain't nobody got time for that rigamarole just to throw away a single blue dot "drawing" that Chicken probably didn't even do on purpose and gave no fucks about before it came into the car.) I wake up that morning and drive thru Starbucks and buy a single coffee and I blink and the CAR IS FULL OF CRAP AGAIN.
I have to make the choice, daily, of whether to go inside and take off my shoes and watch Transparent, or clean out all the shit in the car before I do that other fun good better stuff.
I think you know what choice I make. At least, Abraham Lincoln does.
That's all I have to say about cleaning out the car.