Friday, September 27, 2002

My Ride is Dirty

I might clean the truck. I might spend more time writing about the condition of the truck and then it will be too hot outside for a sane person to be cleaning anything.

In any given crisis mine is the vehicle you would want to be in. Some people have a gift for organization and general sanitation. Their cars smell good and they have no reason to fear public scrutiny when a door swings open. Some people have little vacuums, and they use them, and their passengers aren't obliged to sit between a box of Legos, a snow boot and a bag of grocery bags. But these same people are ill prepared for danger, for the unexpected, for riding in cars with children.

Periodically I clean the car. I clean it adequately and I feel good. Very rarely, Geoff cleans the car, but he over does it. He is too good, too thorough and the consequences can be crippling. He removes all clothing; so when someone pees or vomits we are defenseless, naked! He removes all containers; so the vomit-thing is a problem once again, as well as leaky bags of gold fish. He throws out crayons and scraps of crumpled paper; this leaves us vulnerable to creative children screaming in desperation when we sit in traffic or stop at business offices. He returns all books to shelves; another last defense against boredom is lost.

When all the little party favors are gathered and removed from under the seats, the children miss an opportunity for discovery. If we bring the slightly bent umbrella inside, of course it will rain. In the side pocket of the driver's door are two rusted and seemingly useless tools, and Geoff has tried to get rid of them. These two tools are the only thing that work to release the hinge in the door lock that frequently, but inexplicably, jams.

Recently a man, adrift for nearly 4 months, was rescued off the coast of Costa Rica. He survived by using the resources he had available, and grilling sea gulls. We could survive, adrift in suburbia, in our vehicle, but only if it hasn't been too efficiently cleaned. In my car, I can fix, repair, feed, entertain, heal, inspire and enlighten, for days. At a family reunion, two Summers ago, the hotel was booked; the boys and I slept in the car two nights, but that's another story.

Well, it's still cloudy out. I'll go streamline my operation, remove any perilous material and wipe down anything sticky. But the box of Cheerios, the beach towel, the gallon of organic apple juice and the snow chains stay, because you never know.

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