WHY DOES MY CAR SMELL LIKE A TRASH DUMPSTER, is something I may have asked in my outside voice this morning when I slid into the van to take the kids to school.
To clarify, I would describe the status of my housekeeping skills as, “comfortably lived-in, but never a pig stye.” We keep our cars the same way. You might find a stray backpack or gum wrapper, but that’s about it. Trust me, The Colonel wouldn’t have it any other way.
Immediately I turned to my son, because unless I had mistakenly purchased milk, tuna, eggs and meat from the store, then unwrapped them and left them in the back cargo bay of the van under a grow light for three days, I had a feeling the smell could be traced back to him.
He’s 13. He’s a slob. God love him. He’s always on my smells-radar.
Me – Jacob – Why does my van smell like death?
Jacob – *looks around wildly* *mumbles* It’s probably the taco wrapper in my bag.
Me – What? Seriously? Get it. Now. *eyes of irritation*
Jacob – *Opens his backpack, retrieves wrapper without commentary, gets out of car, proceeds to trash can*
Jacob – *Starts to put on seat belt, stops* – Oh, wait. I think I have one in my other bag too. And I don’t think I finished that one.
Me – Tacos? From where?
Jacob – *Opens second backpack, retrieves TWO wrappers, gets out of car, proceeds to trash can*
Jacob – *returns to car* – From Taco Bell. I get them sometimes after school when I walk home with my friends.
Me – Ohhhhhh, Buddy. Taco Bell? Taco Bell? Of all the places.
Jacob – I can’t believe you’re more upset about the place, than the actual food in the car. Sorry.
“Dani, you often forget the names of your own children while you’re talking to them so how can you be so sure about your last Taco Bell dining experience?”
Well, 1994 was a memorable year. I separated from my first husband and started living on my own for the first time. It’s also the year I bit into a chicken broccoli Hot Pocket and thought I was biting a piece of chicken but really it was my tongue and SON OF A BITCH that’s an injury you won’t soon forget. So THAT is why I remember the last time I ate at Taco Bell. 1994 was a tough year for relationships AND the barely edible food that I put in my face.
The meat, the sauce, the texture, the lingering taste – there was something about my first and last Taco Bell experience in 1994 that made me swear off the stuff forever. Twenty years later, it’s back to haunt me, and my nostrils.
After removing the source of the smell and leaving the windows down, the van doesn’t smell like rotting ass any longer but I have a feeling this was a small glimpse into the noxious horrors that await me in three years when my son has his own car.