Junk in the Trunk

How much stuff is in your car’s trunk? Or, if you’re trunkless, in the “Way-Back”?

Isn’t it remarkable how much junk we jam in there? Where does it all come from? And, for Pete’s sake, who’s to blame?

A friend who purchased a new car had to empty-out the old one that she was trading in. This, shockingly, after only 12 years and 125,000 miles. She spent hours excavating the car’s trunk. It was like a Middle Eastern archeological dig.

In my car, which is an SUV-sized-for-kids (as opposed to grown-ups), I’ve filled the Way-Back with a cardboard box containing bubble wrap and adult diapers (no snickering) as well as numerous packing blankets.

The diapers, as every antiques dealer knows, work perfectly for wrapping such breakables as ceramics and glass. Antiques dealers also have an off-color (no pun) joke about how to buy the diapers inexpensively.

The packing blankets are literally mostly that: the attire once gracing the top of bed sheets, intended to keep bed occupants warm, and has been recycled to wrap furniture for transport. Very ecologically sensitive and sustainable. You’re welcome.

Mixed in with the bed blankets are quilted furniture pads. Slightly larger and far more protective than mere bed blankets, the pads are saved to wrap really, really important pieces of furniture. Which means they rarely get used.

I have so many packing blankets and pads (oh, there’s a couple of rugs thrown in for good measure, too) that were I to wrap individual pieces of furniture in each, there wouldn’t be room enough in the Way-Back to accommodate all the furniture. I’d have to enlist the assistance and kindness of suburban strangers and their baby-SUVs.

The stuff in my car’s Way-Back is so space-consuming that the back seats are perpetually down. In fact, I’ve had the back seats in the upright position maybe twice in the four-plus years I’ve owned the car. Maybe.

Each of the few times I’ve had the seats upright, though, I know I’ve had to pull out the owner’s manual in order to figure out how to unlock them and get them back down. And I’m not lying about this. You know the saying: When all else fails, RTFM.

Despite the relative absence of gainful employment by all the junk in my vehicle’s Way-Back, some of the junk does serve one especially valuable purpose.

Before taking a trip, I refold and neatly arrange all the packing blankets to form two piles roughly equal in height at the rear of the car. (The pads can never, ever be removed, of course, because I might buy something for which the pads then would be useful.)

After loading up the car with suitcases and more handled canvas tote bags than one could ever imagine having been manufactured in total since the Industrial Revolution, the piled pads finally realize their destiny.

Pepper – a 10 year-old not-so-miniature miniature poodle and, simply for sake of snootiness, AKC and imported as he’s a native of Maine – installs himself on top of the pads, usually spanning the two piles. There, from his vantage point perched atop the mound of fabric, he serves his professional role as co-pilot or, at least, navigator.


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