I have been a veritable Mr. Clean for much of this spring break. First, I had to clean out our guest bedroom so the bed could be taken by Mark and Polly and given to our niece, Lorelai. Second, I had to completely clean off our grand piano to make it ready for our piano tuner’s visit on Monday – an enormous undertaking. Third, I had to follow it up with a thorough cleaning of my car because Kathy and I needed to swap vehicles so I could more safely travel down to Batavia, Illinois on Tuesday. (After four straight days of vigorous cleaning, I’m sure kathy was starting to wonder what alien pod creatures had taken over her husband’s mind and body.)
The car was actually the biggest, most exhausting undertaking of the three. . . which would not exactly be a shocking surprise to anyone who’d recently seen the interior of my car. The seats were all completely buried under mountains of stuff – you couldn’t see so much as a square inch of any of the seats . . . . and the floor of the car was completely covered with stuff as well, save for the floor beneath the driver – although even that was messier than it should have been. It was almost as though I was one of those bag ladies one sees in Central Park except that I had an automobile instead of a shopping cart for my stuff. I describe all this not because I’m proud of it – nor to get a laugh – but merely to report the facts. My car is the messiest thing about me (which is really saying something) and cleaning it up enough so my wife could drive it without throwing up on the dashboard was the task before me. And I am proud to say that by the time I was done, that car was spotless. . . and pretty much not disgusting . . . and I managed it all with my own elbow grease. My original plan was to clean out the clutter – a huge job in and of itself – and then take it to one of those Sparkling Suds car washes to have the interior cleaned by a team of professionals – probably wearing protective hazardous cleanup gear. But once I had invested the time and energy it took to de-clutter the car, I decided to take it all the way on my own. It wasn’t easy- especially because the newly-exposed floor of the car was coated with a rather alarming (and, for all I know, toxic) mix of dirt, Taco Bell remnants, and such – which in a science fiction movie might have sprung to life, sprouted tentacles, and begun eating the whole county. Nothing quite that dramatic ensued and I was eventually able to return the car to a state of cleanliness which it has probably not seen since the day I bought it.
If there is one way to convey just how bad my car was, it’s with the above photo which appears to show coins that might have been laboriously extricated from ancient Mayan ruins . . . or perhaps rescued from the safe of the ocean- entombed Titanic. No, in fact these ten coins were rescued from the floor of my car. . . and some day when I’m feeling especially mischievous, I’m going to insert them in one of those coin conversion machines in the grocery store and see what happens.
On second thought, I think I’ll hold on to these coins as a tangible reminder of how bad I allowed my car to become – in the hopes that I’ll never travel quite so far down that disgusting path again. (Kathy’s not holding her breath – nor am I-nor is anyone who knows me well.)