Pile into the rolling pig-sty...
My friend Kim apologised as I got into her car, whisking crumbs off the front seat and scraping a nail over something that looked somewhat, um, regurgitated.
“I’m sorry, my car’s a mess.”
“Well, it makes me feel better, ‘cos mine’s disgusting.” I didn’t say this to make her feel better. I believed it to be the truth.
A few weeks later I read this silly report in the paper about the interplay between one’s star sign and the state of your car. Turns out Cancerians – me and Kim – are the messiest of the lot. Perhaps it’s that Cancerian homing instinct, but often one can find things to cuddle, things to sleep on, and things to eat and drink in our cars.
I sms’d her the happy news that we were not personally responsible for the cars our husbands so loathed setting so much as a left foot in, but that our roving pigsties were merely a manifestation of some celestial sort of thingie over which we had zero control.
One day her son found a tape (remember those?) somewhere in her car and transferred it to the tape deck in my car.
“Don’t chuck your muck all over the car, over the car, over the car. Don’t chuck your muck all over, the car, put it in a bag.” He and my son chanted along with the lady on the tape, as they raided their warm lunchboxes for break leftovers, spilling wax wrap and naartjie peels in gay abandon, and not a hint of irony.
My husband – born under the tight-ass sign of Gemini – has a pristine car. Always. Under every circumstance. Actually, Gemini’s are not really tight-assed, I don’t think, because the same cannot be said of the state of the kitchen or bathroom after he has been busy in either of those. But anyway, his car is mysteriously clean, inside and out, twentyfourseventhreehundredandsixtyfive. By some magical wizardry, he accomplishes this without ever toting a bucket of soapy water across the threshold between garden tap and drive way, or calling for the extra-long lead so the vacuum cleaner can reach the car. I suspect he has a mutually beneficial relationship with a car-cleaning outfit somewhere in town. Convenient: you drop the kids off at school, you park your car in some basement, hand over your keys, and walk away. Eight hours later you return to the shiny thing and hand over some moolah. I have no idea how much moolah one pays for a car wash, much the same way as I have no idea how much one pays to have your lips pumped up by having something injected into them. I’ve never had occasion to know.
I, meantime, fly around the town, providing lunch-on-the-hoof for, sometimes, up to four children. I consume large quantities of water during this race. I accept every piece of paper handed to me through the window out of Mitgefühl for the poor poephol having to spend his or her life handing them out to the ungrateful.
The result is my car is awash in paper, tissues, crumbs and countless water bottles that roll glugging around the floor around corners. But wait! That’s not all. We have: shopping bags, last year’s Xhosa spelling book, the four-year old’s misshapen clay pot (and we haven’t four-year olds in the house for a number of years now), several inside-out socks and wide range of children’s shoes. In summer we also have discarded clothing and sandy towels. In winter we have scarves and mittens.
One day, when the car was in a particularly disgusting way, I even apologised to my son, one of the chief culprits. He said: “Don’t worry, mum, your car is not as disgusting as Kim’s,” and he gave a little shiver to indicate that hers gave him the heebie-jeebies.
I SMSd Kim again: “You win! Ollie says your car is more disgusting than mine.” What does your car look like? Is it possible to keep Mom’s taxi clean?