Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In Which I Might Fit The Profile

To commemorate the beginning of my vacation, I tasked myself with cleaning out the car this past weekend. Since The Boss and I have been down to only one vehicle for almost a year now thanks to the good ol' economy, our little Ford Focus is often quite messy. More often than not it looks like two rival gangs, the Dunkin' Donuts and the McDonald's, got into a violent fight inside the car and left pieces of their fallen gang members behind. If I had a nickel for every straw wrapper or crusty French fry that I found while gathering up the trash, I could quit my day job right now and retire comfortably. 

On top of all of the everyday junk that had collected in the car like travel mugs, shoes, sweatshirts, shopping bags, books, magazines, old mail, sales flyers, and other detritus (I've always wanted to use that word), there were a couple of things that wouldn't look too good if looked at in the right perspective. Say, for example, the perspective of a law enforcement officer who has decided to search a vehicle he has pulled over.

First off, until I cleaned the car out, it had an odor. Not exactly unpleasant, but not truly welcoming either.  If you caught it on just the right amount of breeze, you'd definitely notice that someone had tried to cover the foul smell up (which we had, with Febreeze). Combine that with the massive blue tarp, 100 feet of high-test nylon rope, two hammers, a hatchet, a couple of large kitchen knives, duct tape, lighter fluid, and an economy size box of matches, I'd probably fit the profile of a serial killer.

But really, you'd just be looking at a poorly organized collection of camping gear. 

There are some times where I feel like I fit the bill, with my unshaven face and unruly hair and clothes so wrinkled I look like I got my wardrobe from the donation bags at a Salvation Army. I guess I'm just fortunate that the only times I've been pulled over recently were so some bored police officer could let me know that I had a taillight out. Which, by the way, happened twice within three days... the second time while I was on the way to buy the bulb to fix it.

Now that the car is all cleaned out, all of my serial killer gear is safely stored away in a storage closet in the attic of our apartment building, tucked safely away from prying eyes and the reach of the law by a thick wire gate and a padlock. That's probably the best place for it, all things considered.

Do you have anything incriminating in your car?


Maggie said...

All I've got floating around my car is the everyday stuff that you mentioned, plus some crayons, some crumbs, a few water bottles and lots of ants. I don't know where they keep coming from but they're definitely multiplying. I can send you some if you like...,they'll finish out the whole look you've got going on!

ScubaNurse said...

uh yup. I have spine bones and pretend long bones, for teaching.
total serial killer!

Sherry "Owned by Sunday" Williams said...

Since my car is one of the few places I have total control it stays pretty clean. I think that comes from getting older. The 'back seat as a trash receptacle' phase will fade once Baby Badass makes an entrance. However a farmer friend of mine was pulled over on his way home from vaccinating his herd of goats. The used syringes, about 30 of them, were lying on the dash of his truck. He somehow avoided arrest but he was detained on the side of the road for quite a while.

Natalie said...

The Mister is a clean Nazi so our cars are sell worthy at all times. The cars look dealership ready at all times. It's exhausting to keep up with.

cbs111 said...

I carry a shovel for getting out of snow, but it stays with me all year. Everyone always asks me what I'm planning to bury.

Cyndi said...

I just have a few half-empty Diet Coke cans, a Starbucks Doubleshot can, and some used napkins. With kids, it has to stay pretty sparse.

The only time I've been pulled over, I was driving my husband's car (which is CLEAN CLEAN) and was bringing my sister home from the hospital. We had just gotten the kids and my diaper bag was an Andy Warhol edition with .38 pistols printed all over it... Turns out an identical car had been stolen from the parking lot at the hospital and it was all over fairly quickly. Five minutes later we got stopped at a roadblock and without thinking I told the cop "we are not the black Honda Accord you are looking for."

Thank God for geek cops! He laughed, made a comment about my bag and tattoos and let us go.

Ms Amanda said...

Once, in High School, my Bug broke down so I borrowed my dads van. In and of itself it was quite heinous, huge, grey, dusty and moderately molester van-ish. It wasn't until I was driving it from the parking lot (totally ditching) that I discovered the true joy! Our campus cop waved us to a stop at the exit. When I braked beer cans came rolling from the back to surround our feet. Hundreds of them! It was like a beer can tsunami! I was freaking out that "Carl" would come talk to us before we left, as he was likely to do! Luckily he just made sure the way was clear and waved us on. I thought I was having a heart attack!

Shorty said...

I use my console as a trash box and clean it out once every week or two. But I don't remember the last time I vacuumed or dusted the inside of my car so it's filthy. Plus it rained in my car a few weeks ago when I left my windows down a bit... so I understand the smell problem. I also keep an umbrella, a blanket, an ice scraper, a sun shade and way too many CDs in my car. I don't suppose any of this "fits the profile" but considering my car is a tiny Sunfire... it's a mess.

eissel said...

I don't have a car, but I usually tend to put some pretty unusual stuff inside my backpack. There was one time where I had to bring a power supply so I could tinker with it at home. I had to drop by a mall to buy some blank CD's.

The guards usually inspect the bags of people entering the mall for things like dangerous weapons. When I opened up my bag for inspection, the mall guard started to act suspicious. With so many tangled wires inside my backpack, who wouldn't?

Guard: "Hey, what's this?" (Points to power supply, tangled wires and all)

Me: "That? It's just a computer power supply."

Guard: "Are you sure sir?"

Looking at him when he asked that question, I could tell that the guard was on his nerves. Poor guy, he must have thought I was carrying a bomb.

The Cookie Lady said...

About a month ago, my engine died and I had to tow my car to the dealership to trade it in - here's a partial list of what was inside:
a broken bowling ball, a window A/C, a belgian waffle maker, christmas cookie cutters, a set of ratcheting straps, a mini screwdriver, a monopoly game, 2 sweaters, about 30 books & 8 magazines, a set of windchimes, a child's booster seat and a portable hand truck...among lots and lots of McDonalds trash. :)

Ms. Random said...

I am beginning to wonder if your novel might be semi-autobiographical. Hmmm....

Deidra said...

My car is a ghetto piece of crap. I don't even bother cleaning it out most of the time!

SammyIAm said...

My 86 Toyota was having starter issues a couple years ago. The starter would occasionally settle in a "dead" spot, and wouldn't turn over when I tried to start the truck. The solution was to bang on the starter until it moved a little, and try again. I had been using the spare-tire/jack pole (long metal pole about 2.5' long) for this purpose.

I got pulled over one night because I "ran a stop sign" (code for: you're driving a sketchy pick-up in a nice neighborhood). The cop asked, "What's this pole here for?" "I use it to start my truck sometimes..." "And how does that work?" I explained, and he seemed to buy it, but was a little puzzled.

Carolyn said...

HAHAHAHA, you made me laugh out loud for real. Awesome!

Moonspun said...

Oh wait until you add baby stuff to all that...just don't leave the used diapers in it... :-)
My van was used over the weekend by RP for a runner's relay race across NH. My daughter got in it Sunday and wrinkled her nose saying "Gross! It smells like sweaty runners in here!"
It did.

Lynne H. said...

Hmmm...would the packed and ready bag in the trunk be considered incriminating? In case the kids take that last nerve and pluck it, I can head out in the dark of nite, leave cheetos and coke for the week and go see what's up in Vegas...other than that, i keep it clean and legal..i know i'm fucking mainstream now..ugh!!!!!

Chuck said...

My van is full of my wife's scuba training gear. She teaches a couple classes a week. With all the air tanks, wetsuits, BC's and hoses with gauges, we get some odd looks when we open the back door on the weekly WalMart grocery run. But nothing incriminating looking.

Maggie said...

I am always amazed at how many straw wrappers that build up in my car too, also atm receipts.

I have a hammer during the winter ice builds up around my tires really badly and it's used to break up the ice around my tires. My roomate saw it on the passengers side floor one time and gave me a funny look so I told what I use it for and she said "Maybe you should hide it so no one thinks your carrying a concealed weapon" so the thought it was incriminating. I didn't. If anything I can be known as the hammer thrower.

Jasmine said...

We always have a few gallons of gasoline in the trunk. Not sure if that could be incriminating, but we may be plotting to use it to start a fire somewhere.

Kev D. said...

Only wrappers for pepperoni sticks that I hide from my wife.

yellowsnapper said...

Last year I cleaned out my car in preparation for a long trip. My husband reached under a seat and pulled out a Hanson cd. I thought he was going to divorce me.

In my defense - the cd did not belong to me. Really, it didn't. I swear to God.

Badass Geek said...

Maggie: Ants? No, thanks.

ScubaNurse: Nice!

Sherry "Owned by Sunday" Williams: I'm sure the cop was like, "Yeah, sure. Vaccinating your goats. Right."

Natalie: Sounds like it.

Cbs111: Or who.

Cyndi: Geek cops? Sounds like a rare breed.

Ms Amanda: Phew!

Shorty: Sure sounds like it.

Eissel: I was thinking to myself, "Who hasn't seen a power supply before?" And then I realized that most non-geeks wouldn't have.

The Cookie Lady: That's a partial list?

Ms. Random: I'll never tell.

Deidra: I hear ya.

SammyIAm: Lucky for you.

Carolyn: Mission accomplished.

Moonspun: Sounds relaxing.

Lynne H: Hey, it happens.

Chuck: That's cool.

Maggie: Catchy!

Jasmine: You never know when the urge will strike.

Kev D: Yeah, we all have done that.

Yellowsnapper: That's hard to come back from.

Jen said...

My car is fairly new so I've been trying really hard to keep it clean. So far, the only things in it are some beach sand and a few strands of my hair that seem to fall out of my head with very little provocation. I think there might be some spiders too. For some reason spiders seem to enjoy co-habitating with me in my car.

Nej said...

I used to manage a grocery spent many a day in the meat room, happily cutting chuck roasts and sirloin steaks. Many times, I would leave for the day, or for lunch, still wearing my apron. I'd go to get into my car, realize I was still wearing it. Not wanting to go back inside, I'd take it off and throw it in the passenger seat (if I threw it in the back seat I'd inevitably forget it...not a good thing - especially in the summer). That apron, if you can imagine, would have looked mighty incriminating had I ever been pulled over.

Writer Ninja said...

Good thing you cleaned out the car before the arrival of Baby Badass! Ha, I think the police would be even more troubled to find steak knives and lighter fluid besides a teddy bear and a sippy cup. Try explaining that one…

SkippyMom said...

"I'd probably fit the profile of a serial killer" with a sideline as an arsonist? heehee - I cracked up reading what you had in the car - we're campers too & I can completely picture it.

Seriously tho' - Cookie lady has us all beat. A broken bowling ball? Really? :D

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