My Significant Other—SigO as I like to call him—and I took an Uber the other day, or maybe a Lyft. I want to be accurate, but he was the one who called the car, and I’m not sure which app he used. It turns out that for the purposes of this story, it’s irrelevant. I know what you are thinking—there goes six-seconds of your life you’ll never get back.
The point is that the Uber/Lyft car was immaculate. I don’t mean just that it had been recently vacuumed. It looks as if no one had ever sat in it before. We chatted with the driver, as we often do, because it is really weird to sit in someone else’s car and act like they don’t exist. He admitted to having children similar in age to ours.
“NO!” I screamed. “Don’t tell SigO that you have children!”
You see, I have been trying to convince him that the state of my vehicle is perfectly acceptable for people who have children. Sure, the windows are smudged with finger prints, the floor mats are covered in baseball field dust, and there are a few gum wrappers and used tissues scattered around the back seat on any given day, but that is to be expected. My old vehicle had random toys, empty food wrappers, the occasional dirty sock, and at least eighteen water bottles scattered in the foot wells on any given day. The children and I had improved. We had exhibited growth. This was the best that we could possibly do—except for vacuuming, which I intended to do one of these days, I promise—and also the best that all parents are capable of doing. The Uber/Lfyt driver proved that cleanliness was obtainable, and there was no way, shape or form that I wanted SigO to get that into his head.
“Do you make the kids ride on the roof?” I asked.
“I make them take their shoes off when they ride in the car,” he explained. “They put their shoes in a bag.”
This was not going well.
“And I have them trained to take everything out of the car that they bring into it as soon as they exit the vehicle.”
Clearly, he was an alien, and had alien
spawn children. Luckily, we got home before he could explain any more of his horrifying parental philosophy. Unluckily, we rode with a single mom friend the next week in her minivan, which was also impeccably clean. She was single—ergo, she was outnumbered by her children and still her van was spotless. Her kids were five and nine years old—even younger than ours! I was betrayed once again. She actually apologized for not having recently vacuumed her vehicle, as if people actually vacuum vehicles more than once every other year! It was obvious that we can no longer accept rides from this woman, even if we are going to the same place. The cleanliness expectation level might get out of control.
Look, I know my car could be cleaner. To be honest, so could the house. Come to think of it, the children could probably stand more frequent washings as well. These are all things that I care slightly less about than I probably should. But I have many things in my brain that are much more interesting to me than cleaning, and sadly, often add to the disarray of the vehicle. Things like beach trips, Harry Potter festivals, drive-through safaris, and long relaxing car rides to visit relatives who live out of state.
The kids are very cute and I like them. I don’t want to torture them more than necessary, and although conceivably there are parents who are capable of having happy, well-adjusted children and a clean vehicle at the same time, I am not one of them. We all know this.
The best plan I can fathom at this point is to carefully screen all potential Uber/Lfyt/Friend vehicles ahead of time. If I get to the car first, I can throw some stuff around in there before SigO sees it.
Copyright © 2023 Lara Lillibridge
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