Monday, February 16, 2009

What's in the Car?

We were out shopping yesterday, and happened to be moving things around in the car to make room for our bags. As we did that, we were struck by how the content of one's car, which is so personal, can tell us so much about the owners.

The photo at right is of our car picnic...we needed to eat while we were shopping, but were tired of fast food. We went into Stop & Shop and found a few goodies - french bread still warm from the oven, marinated mozzarella, roasted garlic, olives & feta, and fruit.

For example, here's what's in our car:

  • Atlas: this is always in the car, stuck between the front seat and the console. We wouldn't go anywhere without it and use it for reference often. (My daughter learned how to read one when she was the "Navigator" on our road trip to Wyoming a few years ago. I learned to read one long ago when my father taught me how, so I could drive myself to my various military posts around the US in my little VW "Lady Bug.")

  • Mapquest Directions: we have a folder next to the Atlas that contains Mapquest directions to our favorite spots - Holyoke Mall, World Food Market, Northampton and Albany spots.

  • Electronic Gear: we can't go very far or for very long without our electronics! We have an iPod radio transmitter which we use often, an iPod charger, a cell phone charger (do we even own that particular cell phone anymore?), and a universal charger (has a "regular" outlet so just about anything can be plugged into it and charged).

  • Dry Cleaning: we call this "the perpetual bag of dry cleaning" as it seems to sit in the car forever and get moved from seat to seat to make room for the next passenger. I just never seem to get around to dropping it off (or picking it up).

  • Cleanliness Items: we have a fetish about napkins and wet wipes, and can't be without them. (Helpful Hint: I learned the hard way with my first few cars - wet wipes are NOT good for cleaning interiors! The alcohol dries out the vinyl and it eventually cracks.)

  • Personal Items: aspirin and a brush. We don't go anywhere without aspirin - it can cure anything, and there is nothing so debilitating as a bad headache. (A clever folded-paper water cup that came with some aspirin we purchased at a rest area during our Inauguration trip is somehow still in the car.) And, my daughter usually needs a brush at some point during a drive.

  • Ice Skates: my daughter used my skates a few weeks ago and discovered that they need to be sharpened; I wonder if they'll stay in the car as long as the dry cleaning?

  • Netflix: the last DVD I watched is waiting to be returned to the post office - Sunrise, 1931. I'm in the midst of watching every Oscar-nominated movie and am currently in the 40s, but the older ones get mixed in now and then as they come off the waiting list.

  • Book on CD: the case for my current commuting book on CD - John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" - still has 4 CDs to be listened to, and isn't due back to the library for a week or so.

  • Neck Pillow: we bought inflatable neck pillows at an airport shop during one of our trips - was it to Chicago or San Francisco? They're great for getting comfortable to nap on a plane, but also work well in a car.

  • Freezer Pack: this was forgotten in the car by my daughter - she used it on a bumped knee. This particular pack came in an order of smoked rambole cheese that we purchased from Amazon's gourmet shop online as a gift for a friend - it shipped in an adorable miniature cooler with these disposable freezer packs, which we reuse.

  • Games: just in case we need to pass the time, we have a few games in the car...sudoku, Chat Pack (asks random questions to spark conversation), and "52 Things to do in the Car" (like the alphabet or license plate games).

  • Blanket: we keep a royal blue fleece blanket in the trunk, for just in case it's ever needed. I was given it as a thank you gift from our local United Way after I trained their volunteers in public speaking, which I've done for a few years.

  • Goodwill: we usually have a bag "going" in the trunk, with items we're giving to Goodwill (usually clothes). We keep adding to the bag, and then drop it off some time as we're driving by their donation center.

  • Reusable Shopping Bags: we found these at one of our favorite bargain haunts - Family Dollar. For $10, we were able to buy 10 bags, of a decent weight, to keep in the trunk for use whenever we shop.

  • The "Usual" Stuff: does everyone keep this in their car? Car paperwork (registration, service bills, manual, copies of past "warnings"), pens, a dying flashlight, an umbrella, an ice scaper, wiper fluid.

It's interesting to think about how the various items we collect in our vehicles are so personal to our lives. They give a glimpse into personalities and lifestyles. Just curious...what's in your car?


mouse (aka kimy) said...

how fun.... however, I can't answer the query as in april I will celebrate my 3rd year of being voluntarily carless. when my car died (it was a 94 jetta with almost 200,000 miles on the odometer, I was so bummed it didn't quite get there) I thought the best thing to do for the environment was to try and be carfree. I entered the state thinking it would be for 6 months or so....and here it is almost 3 years later! I am fortunate as I live in a community with a decent bus and rail system so getting around is no problem is my destination is further than my feet can take me. my husband has a small pickup truck so if I really need to use a vehicle for something I'll drive his....I probably only average using his truck 3 or 4 times a month. we don't even want to talk about what is in his truck....unfortunately it kind of resembles the other areas where he collects stuff - the basement, garage or top of his dresser.

ah I see a new question....I'll have to come time now

Loveanewidea said...

I admire your commitment! Not only are you fortunate to have usable public transportation, but you took the purposeful step to make use of it. Since we need vehicles out here in the boondocks, my commitment is to drive a hybrid, which I love, and don't ever see myself going back to a "regular" vehicle.


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