Under the car seat

Jul 28th, 2006 | By | Category: Personal Columns

My mother rarely believed excuses, even when they were true.

The worst day was when my father and I were delayed in our return journey by a low-flying chicken.

My mother didn’t believe a word of it. It was true. We were driving on a dual carriageway when chickens came through a fence on the other side. Trying to avoid the cars, one flew into the air over the central reservation and straight into our off side headlight – smashing the light to pieces and not doing much for the appearance of the chicken.

I gave up on the excuses and would have offered no reason for the fact that I hadn’t cleaned out our car for a year apart from the fact that I couldn’t be bothered. On weeks when there are only a few hours of spare time, cleaning out the car wouldn’t figure every high on the list of priorities.

It was the annual attempt to get a year’s accumulation of crisps, sweet wrappers and miscellaneous unidentified objects out of the car ahead of our holiday. Under the seats there were still leaflets and brochures on Austria and Croatia, last year’s destination. There was a Beatles’ CD (so that’s where it was) and a Corrs CD (that could have stayed there).

After contortions that would have graced an Olympic gymnastics display I got the worst of the dirt and the rubbish cleared.

There was one moment that was worthwhile – cleaning out the ashtray I found 160 Kuna, the Croat currency. I think this works out at 20 or so Euro, something for an extravagance in France – maybe coffee at a Parisian pavement café.

Cleaning out the car reminded me of Jesus talking about the man who brought out of his store treasures both old and new. I bet he had forgotten he had the old treasures, and wasn’t he pleased when he found them? I bet he wouldn’t have cleaned his car either.

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