Just how clean is your vehicle?

By Danny Tyree, Special to the Katy Times
Posted 2/23/23

Who needs forensics and gunfire?

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Just how clean is your vehicle?


Who needs forensics and gunfire?

My wife and I have been catching up on episodes of “The Mysteries of Laura,” the 2014-16 NBC series starring Debra Messing. Forget murders and chases. The real reason the show resonates with me is because as Laura Diamond juggles the duties of a single mother and police detective, she’s understandably a slob with her car.

Yes, my poor Altima gets woefully neglected inside and out. It’s a magnet for the abundant tree sap in my yard and the interior is home to an archive of fast-food wrappers, receipts, seasonal changes of clothing, mail I dread taking to the kitchen table, books discarded by the public library, broken CDs, etc. No room for an air freshener “tree,” so I duct-tape a couple of Tic Tac mints to the rearview mirror.

It’s like the mobile version of that legendary school locker that houses everything. I mean, there are definitely science experiments being conducted on the floorboard. And I suspect that if I ever have a collision, instead of the airbag deploying, I’ll be greeted with a voice that advises, “Walk it off, walk it off.”

My conveyance has devolved into the opposite of the trope about new cars. You know, “As soon as you drive it off the dealer lot, it loses half its value.” No, whenever I drive off a parking lot, the real estate value of the lot doubles.

Although my car is a 2010 model, it’s a throwback to the 50s. Back then, lots of cars had FINS, and I wouldn’t bet against there being an aquarium somewhere in all the clutter.

Some guys baby their car because of a midlife crisis. I face more of a midwife crisis. (“I think another mouse is experiencing a breech birth in the trunk!”)

I know. You’re supposed to take pride in your vehicle and display it as a status symbol. Well, here’s my status: I’ve got a life! When sandblasting, vacuuming, waxing and decluttering become The Most Important Thing to Do Today, I’ll buckle down. But after all this time, the National Audubon Society fears I would disrupt the migratory pattern of all North American birds. (“Divebomb!”)

Yes, I could stop at one of those Saturday morning fundraiser carwashes, but I would feel guilty about the copious amount of elbow grease it would require. A carwash should be a fun entrepreneurial enterprise for teens, not a lesson in indentured servitude. I’m not out to proselytize, either—I would hate to force the Methodist Youth Group to send out for an exorcist.

Granted, my situation makes me more cautious about traffic violations. You don’t want to hear “May I please see your license and registration?” when your glove compartment is prone to projectile vomiting.

I struggle not to be jealous of those of you who have the time, money and energy to keep your vehicle immaculate. We all have our troubles. (“Oh, pooh, Biff! I ran over a unicorn and it’s going to take AAA a whole five minutes to get here and clean it up.”)

Sometimes I do get riled up about the “perfect” people and daydream about really telling them off, but then a little voice whispers in my ear, “Buddy, can you let us out of the back seat near that big tent? If we’re late, the ringmaster will hire 12 NEW clowns.”

Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at tyreetyrades@aol.com and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”