Car-cheological Excavations

My cleaning fatwa has made its way to our car, which hasn’t been really cleared out since my son was born six years ago.

I remember—back before I had kids—catching a glimpse of a friend’s minivan, its floor covered with juice boxes and Fruit Roll-up wrappers. Ugh, I thought. I would never let my car look like that. Ha! Woe to the superior.

Kid-created chaos launches previously unimaginable challenges to one’s natural tendencies toward control and calm. I’ve found that, when under duress, the maternal instinct is Survival At All Costs for yourself and your offspring. And lollipops, with their sticky wayward wrappers, simply stop all the fussing—-making for a less frazzled, safer ride. Or, to put it another way, when you are hanging onto the raft of sanity and kicking with all you’ve got, the flotsam and jetsam just floats on by.

My brother, who once drove my car, said with disgust: “Your car is a mess!”

“When it’s no longer like this,” I snapped back, “you’ll know that I’m no longer drowning.”

Sure it was a mess. But, as the adage goes, you are what you drive.

So it was good to don yellow rubber gloves and dig in—unearthing the archeological artifacts of our lives, which included:

  • •    One torn and warped Maryland Family Magazine, Christmas, circa 2005.
  • •    Two forgotten library CD cases (oops!)
  • •    Several empty Altoids cases.
  • •    Dozens of crinkled bank lollipop wrappers.
  • •    A seemingly infinite supply of desiccated Cheerios—more than a few of the tiny shriveled Os at least five years old.
  • •    One fart whistle party favor. (I wonder why that never even made it into the house.)
  • •    Various scribbled directions to long-forgotten play date locales.
  • •    Several chewed straws dotted with dried milk.

And one last item: a torn sock. Single and lonely.

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