How clean/dirty is your car?
Have you ever noticed that with some friends, when they offer you a ride and you get in their car, the first thing they say is “Sorry about the mess,” even if the car’s interior is so antiseptic you could perform surgery in there? On the other hand, I’ve been in cars that more closely resemble the inside of a hamper than a vehicle—and the owner doesn’t seem to notice.
Maybe it’s because I grew up in Detroit, but I believe that the condition of your vehicle says something about you. Is your car the mobile counterpart of the kitchen junk drawer, an area designated for chaos, a place to speed away from responsibility? Or is it a sanctuary from the chaos of your home, your job, your family, a self-contained space where order is easily attained and maintained? After all, cars are all about escape, starting with that first solo drive out of your parents’ driveway and into the world. So I recently asked my Facebook friends: Is the inside of your car clean and tidy, or is it a disaster area? Here are some of the more telling examples from my personality driving test:
- I have four dogs, one of whom is chronically carsick. You really wouldn’t want to get into my car. Unless you’re a dog.
- I keep a duster in the door pocket and use it at lights. And I shake out my floor mats once a week. There’s nothing wrong with that. There ISN’T.
- I divide people into those who brush off my passenger seat and hop right in and those who grimace, then get in with a look of determination and pity.
- I always carry lots of bottled water, just in case I break down in a desert. Even though I live in Philadelphia. (Here are eight things you must check on your car before your next road trip.)
- If I ever disappear due to foul play, the cops will easily be able to trace the last six months of my life from the junk on the floor of my car.
- My car is spotless. I just wish the rest of my life were this beautiful and well-ordered.
- I think of my car as my pocketbook on wheels. It contains everything I need for daily survival.
- Food wrappers. Books. Thermoses. Coffee cups. Sunglasses. Jackets. Blankets. Troll doll in a nurse uniform. Emergency apocalypse backpack. Flashlights. Hair ties. Reading glasses. Newspapers. Receipts. Grocery lists. Stuff for Goodwill …
- We call my husband’s car Meals on Wheels because he has stashed so much snack food in it.
- Last week, I found a squirrel in my car.
- I’m a teacher, which means my car is full of school supplies. If times get tough, I’ll just sell pens, markers, and construction paper out of my trunk.
- My husband has stashed an ax under the driver’s seat of my car. Yes. An ax.
Next, find out why you should never, ever follow a friend when you’re driving.
Roz Warren is a librarian, a writer, and the editor of the humour collection Our Bodies, Our Shelves.
Originally published as Drivers Make Hilarious Confessions About How Clean Their Cars Really Are on RD.com.