I’ve never been accused of being a neat freak. Though most of the time I will probably put my dirty clothes into a hamper, I’m the first guy to leave jackets hanging on chairs. I’m the guy kicking off my shoes in the entryway of the house. I may even leave a dish or two in the sink (something that I’m getting better at, however). Don’t even get me started on my car.
Ever since my first VW Scirocco, back in high school, I’ve been an abuser of car interiors and exteriors. I’m the king of car clutter. This doesn’t come from my parents – my dad may never wash his cars, but they are usually spotless inside. And my mom is just fairly neat by default. I was just never the clean car guy. My cars have always kind of been offices (or classrooms) on wheels. As a result, papers, empties and other trash could usually be found strewn about.
But, yesterday, as I watched K-Man dump an entire large ziplock bag full of Cheerios all over himself, his car seat and my backseat, I think my tolerance for car clutter reached its breaking point.
There’s no doubt that kids bring clutter. Kids bring mess. Kids are clean killers. K-Man, however, has taken his talent for leaving his “K-Man was here” mark to new heights. The recent Cheerio dumping (can’t call it a “spill,” as it was intentional!) was just the latest in a long line of similar actions that have included goldfish, crackers, booty, oranges and even sandwiches (which weren’t discovered until it was WAY too late).
The Great Cheerio Dumping was executed by K-Man with such genuine joy that it’s tough to even get mad. “Here, Daddy,” he said in that undeniably cute tone of voice that could melt a glacier (even faster than global warming). As I looked back in the rearview mirror, K-Man had such an endearing smile (or maybe it was a look of torment) as he turned the bag over and watched the Cheerio rainstorm. He just laughed like nothing was wrong, at all.
Maybe that’s where my own lack of car interior respect came from. Perhaps I used to dump huge bags full of Cheerios in my parents’ cars. (Of course, back then, I wasn’t in a car seat – I was probably running back and forth on the backseat.) Maybe, just maybe, dumping papers, clothes and empty water bottles on the backseat of my car now is just my way of getting in touch with my inner child. Doubt it. It’s more likely that I’m just being lazy.
My car is barely even recognizable as a car right now. It’s not-so-equal parts cereal factory, toy store, transportation vehicle, and most importantly, garbage dump. The irony, after all of these years of car abuse, is that I’m finally kind of keeping it clean. Of course, that’s not because I’m keeping it clean. It’s more likely the result of there being no room for any of my stuff. All of the junk in the car now belongs to K-Man.
It’s a freaking mess. And, it’s not going to get clean anytime soon. K-Man still has years ahead of him in the car seat. After that, it’s muddy soccer shoes. There’s no end in sight. I get that. I really do.
But, does he really have to enjoy it so much?