Sunday, March 5, 2017

I Cleaned Out My Car

Yesterday I got up and I said to myself I said "Eli. You look great today. And you're finally going to clean out your car."

I've been putting it off for a while because my Tetanus shot wasn't up to date. But then last month I reached into the cup holder in the center console of my vehicle to fish out two quarters for something I don't really remember now and as I type this it seems weird that I needed quarters because it's 2017 and the last time I needed quarters was to do laundry in Palau where Daniel and I one time accidentally brought home a red pair of lacy women's underwear that we named "Jasmine."

And when I reach for the two quarters, and dug through the six inches of straw wrappers, stale french fries, receipts, and then a really dark layer that I don't care to revisit right now, I finally got to the coins. But I couldn't retrieve them because they were caked in something very hard that obviously used to be very soft but then solidified and now looked and felt like tree sap that had preserved insects containing dinosaur DNA that Chris Pratt will probably teach how to love one day.

I tried with all my might to get the two quarters out. I used sticks I found in the backseat. I rolled up a Runners World magazine from 2005 that I found under the driver's seat. I poured water into the cup holder from a nalgene bottle I took camping in September. I tried to break it up with one of the pens I was able to pry loose from it.

Nothing worked.

And right then and there I was like "Eli. This is unbecoming of a lady. OR of a man. Which is what you are. And obviously that's what I meant to say. It is time, right here and right now, to clean out this car."

So five weeks later, yesterday, I got up and I said to myself I said "Eli. Your hair deserves an honorary doctorate. And you're finally going to clean out your car."

Mr. Duncan Doodle helped me. We started by taking everything out of and piling it onto my driveway. It was at this point I became convinced that my car is one of those Harry Potter tents that is deceptively large inside. Because the pile of clothes, crumpled fast food bags, and a surprising amount of long black hair, was actually two to three times larger than the car itself.

But removing the debris from the vehicle was the easy part. The hard part? Deciding what to do with the debris.

I need someone right now to make a decision for me. One that I've been putting off for about one full decade. I just need you to tell me what to do. Don't hold back.

WHAT are we supposed to do with CDs and CD cases?

I had 1200 of them in my car.

I cannot get rid of them. Because BACK IN MY DAY, stories about someone's CDs getting stolen out of their car made local news.

I still remember the sinking feeling I felt in my stomach in 1997 when I heard that my oldest sister's friend lost her 120 CDs because she had set her CD book on top of her car, forgotten about it, and drove down the highway.

Can someone back me up on this? The kids don't believe me that these things used to be valuable. We practically took insurance policies out on this crap. It got to a point where mothers who had to slam on their brakes would reach for their collection before even throwing an arm across their child who was way too young to be sitting in the front seat but we did that back then because we didn't know about safety.

But then everything changed. I don't know if there was a specific moment. But I do know that I have not put a CD into a CD player (do I even have one of those?) since at least 2007. And even then it was for nostalgia.

Nevertheless, I cannot, for the life of me, just throw away the 2.5 million CDs and CD cases. It feels like throwing away money.

No. Not figuratively throwing away money. That's not what I mean. I mean that it literally feels like I'm throwing U.S. currency into a garbage can. Which I would never do because RECYCLING.

The point is this: once I placed the carload of garbage(?) safely into a closet in the house that is just yet another car-like ticking time bomb so am I really making any progress here? Once I did that, I finally poured enough chemicals into that cup holder to eviscerate the last two-mile stretch of the ozone layer.

And then I waited. And waited. And waited.

And then went back to the stick and magazine and pens.

And then more chemicals.

More waiting.

More sticks.

Rinse and repeat.

Until finally. Once my 401k was nearly large enough for retirement. FINALLY, I was able to pry the two quarters loose. The two quarters that were so badly deformed that now that I think about it they may have actually been more stale fries.

I decided that since I had now gone to all of this effort, I might as well finish the job and take the car for a full wash. Mr. Doodle came with me, dressed in a dog scarf that we found in the car during The Purge.


We pulled up to the gas station and parked so I could go in and purchase a car washing. But before I even had the car in park, a frail elderly woman was at my window, knocking on it with her over-sized gemstone ring. I rolled down the window. She explained that the car next to me was her son's and that the battery was dead and would I be so kind to jump the vehicle.

Ever the look-like-a-hero opportunist, I immediately spent the four minutes it took to figure out how to pop open the hood of my car and began the car-jumping process. The elderly woman offered to hold Mr. Doodle while we worked on the cars.

We had trouble trying to jump the vehicle and I still don't know why, but the whole reason I'm telling you this long-winded story is for this one little part: With my back to the woman, I heard her take a step. And suddenly a feature-length film of events flashed before my eyes.

Rushing through my mind was the thought that maybe this was all a sting. A man uses an elderly woman to distract other people, all for the goal of stealing puppies.

I couldn't believe I was so foolish to fall for this type of thing after all of the thousands of lectures Bob and Cathie have given me every single time I travel anywhere about how there are people who will try to take advantage of me and force me into the sex trade NOT THAT WE KNOW WHAT THAT IS but also THANKS FOR THINKING I'M STILL DESIRABLE.

And in that split-second in which I suddenly "realized" that I was about to be the victim of a puppy napping, I whipped around, lunged for Mr. Duncan Doodle, and blurted out the words, "NOT MY PUPPY."

The woman took a step back, looking bewildered. I swear to you Duncan actually looked embarrassed. The man looked up from his battery and asked if everything was ok.

I knew this woman was not trying to steal Duncan. She was just helping me because I was helping them. And even if she tried to run away with him, she was like 117 years old. I could for sure outrun her. If they really were out to steal puppies, this was a very poor plan.

They all looked at me for an explanation. I panicked. I knew that I shouldn't tell them that I thought they were trying to kidnap Mr. Doodle. That would make me sound like a crazy person. So I said the next best thing: "I thought he was about to be electrocuted."

I swear. I thought this was a logical explanation. We were charging a battery after all. One that, unfortunately, we never could get charged.

I went inside, mortified. The car wash cost $7.50. I gave the cashier a ten-dollar-bill. He gave me $2.50 in change.

When I got back to the car, I threw the two quarters into the cup holder.

*****

Please enjoy this week's Strangerville Short: Enlightening clips of Jolyn teaching kindergarten.

~It Just Gets Stranger

39 comments:

  1. Have your nieces help you put the music from your CDs on the computer. They'll know how. Then you can throw them out without losing the music.

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    1. Until your computer crashes like mine did! Good luck with that!

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  2. Send me all of your CD's - I will preserve them for you until you are ready to see them again.

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  3. I have a hard time throwing out cds too or even dvds for that matter. There's just something about having a hard copy that seems more secure than having only digital copies of entertainment.

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    1. My husband's computer just crashed and he lost thousands of songs. He has no idea how to retrieve them because his back up hard drive is also corrupted.

      One good reason to hold on to CD's...

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    2. No! That's terrible! I hope y'all have a closet computer genius friend who helps you retrieve the music files.

      In the meantime, Spotify could be a good temporary solution.

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  4. I spent over $900 on CDS my senior year of high school...I'm emotionally attached to them.
    And I'm only 23. πŸ˜πŸ˜‘

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  5. I was forced to clean my car out this weekend, too. We decided to take it on a day trip, so my type-A, OCD husband was going to clean it out because one must have the vehicle showroom floor ready in order to drive to a basketball game 3 hours away, apparently.
    I spent a day cleaning in order to have it to a point where he could clean it out... which consisted of asking why I have hospital barf bags, napkins, CDs, magazines, notebooks, 10 pens, Stevia packets, spare straws, books, an assortment of personal hygiene products (including toothpaste and toothbrush), a cabinet hinge, and a 10" piece of baseboard still in my car. LEAVE MY STUFF ALONE!
    I won a few battles, lost the rest... the "stuff" is on my kitchen table where it is waiting to be stashed back in the car. ;) ...because... stuff. Why can't we just appreciate that a load or two of laundry, a dishwasher load of water bottles and cups, the groceries that I've been driving around because it's easier to leave them than unload them until I need them, most of the sports bags and equipment, and a month's worth of mail had been unloaded? huh? huh?

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    1. You win. If we ever co-owned a vehicle, the world would explode.

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    2. You can never have too many spare straws. The day you throw them away you'll go through the drive thru at Wendy's and the 16 year old kid at the window will forget to put one in your bag because he's dreaming about Taylor Swift, or Eli's hair, or whatever it is 16 year olds dream about these days...and you'll regret it. I think the napkins breed in my jockey box. It's that or I have a drive-thru addiction, so I'm going with the breeding thing to make myself feel better.

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    3. Did you call it a jockey box, The Suzzzz? As in the thing above the passenger's knees that opens up? I've always called that a glove box. Anyone else have alternate names?

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    4. Yes, but that's what my dad called it and he grew up during the Great Depression so it may be an old timey thing. That's what I get for having a father who was the same age as most of my friends grandparents or even some of their great grandparents. Your comment reminded of the Death Cab For Cutie song "Title and Registration", if you haven't heard it you should listen to it.

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  6. I just bought a cd this week so....? πŸ’πŸΌ‍♂️

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    1. Are you at least going to tell us what it was?

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    2. Oh Ed Sheeran. I also bought the Vinyl JUST in case. (They tend to be harder to lose on the freeway than CD's). Also - where do we apply to become your friend. My cousin and I share you blogs posts all of the time to each other because they are TOO relatable.

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    3. Except for your messy car. That's just disgusting, man. πŸ˜‚

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    4. It's pretty easy. You just fill out an application at Shakey's. If you get hired then we get to be friends AND coworkers.

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    5. Mitchell: It is not worth is. Trust Me.

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    6. it is not worth IT not is.

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  7. The standard advice - "If you haven't used it in the last 6 months, throw it away" comes to mind.

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    1. But, but, but we might NEED it someday!!!

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  8. I guess I'm 80 because I use CDs. I still use them in my car all the time. If I'm buying a full album, I prefer it in CD form. I listen to Hamilton on CD. I did get rid of most of my CD cases though.

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    Replies
    1. Nah, if you were 80 you'd be obsessed with vinyl or player pianos...

      I agree with you about the full album though. The problem I usually face is that there aren't many albums that I like or can tolerate every single song on the album to justify buying it.

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    2. When my 93 year old father passed away last year the job of dividing up his vinyl collection fell to me. I also found boxes of reel to reel tapes, 8 tracks, and cassettes. They are currently living in my home office, getting to know the piles of books that don't fit in my bookshelves erego they to are homeless. I think they've bonded over that.

      Good thing I don't have kids, no one will be a sentimental pack rat when it comes time to throw away my CD hoard that has been banished to the garage.

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    3. How are you going to know what all the songs are like if you don't get the full album first?

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    4. How do you know if the full album is good enough to buy if you haven't heard it yet?

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    5. Anonymous that's what the listening stations at music stores were for. Not that there are that many music stores left. Often times the albums weren't good, just the singles. But some of my favorite songs are deep tracks found on albums I bought for one song and ended up loving the whole disc.

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  9. Ok this entire post is hilarious.

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  10. Jolyn teaching kindergarten is giving me life today. Please do a thousand more of these.

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  11. it was teh weekend for cupholder rebirth. Sonic gave me a drink with a hole in it, or i punch the whole in it with my aggressive straw inserting. either way, i looked down and my duel cup hold was filling up with diet cherry limeade.

    I didn't really react. I just stared as the liquid inched up closer..and plenty of crumbs and accessories for batman Lego Minifigures floated to the surface.

    finally i snapped out of my late night stupor and flung my cup out the window. Now i had three inches of soda in my holder. I drove around to gas station after gas station trying to find a vacuum. finally on the 4th i found one that worked.

    after i was done sucking up the water, and collectable lego accessories, i noticed i had sucked out a half inch of crud. my soda cups now actually sit in the holder deep enough to ride stable.

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  12. And I just spent too long reading and re-reading this so I wouldn't have to finish the treasurer's report for the parent council meeting in less than 5 hours. Yes, I could have got it done a week ago and no I'm still not done it. point being, i wish my car was this messy so i can find something worthwhile and get surprised. nothing surprises me anymore. nothing at all.

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  13. HahahaπŸ‘ŠπŸ» also, reminds me if a certain Michael Scott who was quite confident that his 1200 count CD collection, in his car, was sufficient life insurance and could, at any moment, sell said collection. πŸ˜‚ The thing is, they really did used to be worth something. Until you walk in a disc go round and get two bucks for your pristine Ace of Base cd. Jerks.

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  14. Turn your CDs into a craft. Like maybe you could glue them to the top of your coffee table, so all your guests have an opportunity to judge you for your taste in music.

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    1. My sister wall papered with some. looked sparkly (just the backs were showing).

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  15. This may, perhaps, be anticlimactic, but when I read about moms who had to "slam on their breaks", I was trying to figure out if it was their lunch break and whether slamming was anything like rapping. It had to read the whole sentence twice to realize you meant "step firmly on the brakes of the car".

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    1. Good catch. This is not the first time I have done this.

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  16. Somebody stole my CD collection out of my car about a year ago. I was very sad, since I always listened to CDs in my car. For a while, I fell back on my ancient cassette tape collection, and nobody tried to steal that, but it really is a pain not being able to skip tracks. Now I've replenished my CD collection somewhat with library discard sales -- none of the same ones, but at least it's something.

    My old collection was predominantly made up of opera, Bollywood, and Spanish pop, so I doubt the thief ultimately got much resale value out of it. But I really hope he first listened to track 9 of my Mozart's Requiem CD - Day of Wrath, Day of Judgment. Just sayin'.

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  17. I was getting into the passenger side of my care today because my husband wanted to drive, and as I was getting in to sit down I sliced the top of my hand open on the cds that I still have in the cd holder on my visor. And after all that, I will still not get rid of my cds!

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  18. After you find out what to do with CDs, let me know. I still have a box of VHS tapes under my bed. Yeah. VHS. And my VCR still works. Or, at least it did last time I checked. In 1996.

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