Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The View from the Other Seat

     This is not a blog for everyone.  I am sorry, sometimes that's just how it has to be.  Those of you who are married or have a long time girlfriend or boyfriend that you let drive your vehicle while you in it it from time to time will not get this.  This is a post for people like me who, as a general rule drive themselves around and who rarely, if ever, ride shotgun in their own car.  
     I went down to the friendly local car wash today.  Not the kind of place where you drive in and your tire attaches to the little track and slowly plod through a wonderland of brushes and big floppy cloth strips and sprays of water and undercoating that you are not sure actually does anything and hurricane force winds from the crazy mad scientist drying racks.  No, not that kind.  Not even the kind where your car gets to go on the magical journey while you sit in a room that very closely resembles an old laundromat and where towel monkeys dry your car off all nice for you but then you have to give them a little tip.  No.  And definitely not the kind where that happens but they are on roller skates and break into song like they were in a 70s film or something.  And unfortunately not one of those cheerleading team fundraising ones where you get to see high school girls spray each other with hoses and fling soap at one another and it's actually not illegal; not even creepy!  No, I didn't get to go to any of those fun kinds of car washes.  I went to the salt-of-the earth, poor person's car wash where you have to plug in quarters and then you have to spray your beloved DykeSedan down yourself and you have to flip the dial to whatever setting you want to and there is that awesome foamy brush the I love but I still don't quite trust because I always feel that it should move or rotate or something like that.  Yeah, that place.  But I didn't go there to wash the car.  Oh no.  I went there to vacuum it.  And that allowed me to go ahead and do one of my favorite things in the whole world.
     Whenever I am cleaning my car, be it at the car wash or in my mom's driveway or wherever I like to do this.  And I mean really cleaning.  There has to be a vacuum involved and some sort of rag or shammy cloth to wipe down the dashboard and whatnot.  That kind of cleaning.  The kind where you take the floor mats out and beat the hell out of them on the pavement?  Yeah, I was doing that kind of cleaning.  And when I do that kind of cleaning I always like to take to opportunity to sit in the passenger seats of my car.
      Yeah, I know.  That sounds, well, it sounds fucking stupid.  But I don't care.  Usually it's no big deal but sometimes I have to check to see if there are a lot of people around because, quite frankly, if you saw some guy just sitting in the back seat of his car all by himself just sort of looking around in the middle of the day you would think that he needed a helmet or something.  And I don't want that.  Not at all.  But I do it anyway, because I really, really like to take the opportunity to sit in one of the three seats in my car that I do not usually occupy.
     I just love to do this, and I just don't quite know why.  It is not like some sort of deep psychological need that haunts me from day to day.  Like, I don't dream about it or do little doodles about it on the back cover of my notebook while I am in class or anything.  It invariably starts like this: I have all four doors open and am going at it with the vacuum.  The floor mats are lying around on the pavement and as usual I am moving all the shit that habitates in my car from place to place as I try to vacuum the floors and seats and especially the areas under my seats.  I can never get that huge vacuum nozzle into those hard-to-reach places where the small coins and used toothpicks and bottle caps tend to congregate.  Anyway, I am usually vacuuming somewhere in the rear seat passenger area when I look up towards the front and notice that it's a view that I have really never seen before.  Then I stand up and look in the rear drivers side door and I think to myself "I wonder what it's like to sit in the back seat.  I wonder if it's comfortable?" Then, as soon as the vacuum runs out of time and I get the car put back together I sit down in the back seat and just take a look around.
      It is really quite amazing what one will see.  You will get a whole new perspective on what your car looks like, because you will be seeing it from an entirely different angle.  Usually while I am sitting there my imagination runs wild and suddenly me and a couple of friends are on some sort of road trip and I envision that I have just gotten in at some gas station just off the Interstate in the middle of Kansas or something with my treasure trove of Coca-Cola and beef jerky.  And I imagine sitting there and watching the wheat and windbreaks roll by.  I know, I am lame.  I can hear you laughing at me.  But it's an exercise in imagination and it's sort of neat to see what your friends see while they are sitting back there.  I mean, minus you driving like a maniac in the driver's seat, but you get the idea.  I do that though.  I sit in each of the other seats in turn and look around.  I just love it.  Maybe I can never adequately explain it but I could do it all day long.  It sort of makes me want to go somewhere in my car but make someone else drive.
      So anyway, I did that today and enjoyed every minute of it.  And I will do it again the next time I clean the car and I will enjoy every minute of it then too.  Plus, my car is relatively clean right now and that always makes me happy.  So it all went well despite the fact that you are laughing at me, at least on the inside.  And that's okay, because I understand that it sort of sounds silly.  But don't even try to tell me that the next time you clean your vehicle we won't find you looking around to see if anyone is watching you, then sliding back behind the passenger seat and taking a look around.  It's always nice to get a little bit of a different perspective, isn't it?

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