Every Filthy Car Has Its Limit

Chitty may be pocked with dents and rust, and its seats are stuffed with thread-bare beach towels…

…but when it comes to filthy vehicles, there’s no beating the Highlander.

It’s a rolling dumpster of petrified chicken nuggets and discarded gum wrappers. Lollypop sticks and gas pump receipts.

Frankly, I’ve grown accustomed to the debris. Refuse, I can handle.

Stench, I cannot.

Around here, the farmers have been hustling to stay ahead of this wacky weather – an abrupt cessation to winter and a nose-dive into summer temperatures. Last week, daytime traffic was dominated by huge, stinky tankers, hauling liquid manure from dairy farms to nearby fields awaiting their fertilizer spritz. When they treat a field, the stench stretches for miles.

Admittedly, I smirked when an impatient tail-gater edged too close to a tanker; as the truck lurched away, a glop of manure sloshed out the top, splattering the car. I laughed. Stupid commuter.

But it wasn’t so funny when I drove through a mile of s*#t.

I don’t know what happened — whether the spray mechanism got stuck in the “on” position. Or maybe one of those tractor drivers got fed up with the hurried traffic. I like to imagine a teenager traveling from farm to field, checking the road behind him before he wickedly unleashed the spray.

Either way, on Friday I drove through the thick fecal slurry on a stretch of road. The tacky layer coated both lanes, shoulder to shoulder — a mile before it detoured into a field.

When I pulled into the carpool line at Hadley’s school, the stench hit me. The car smelled like a cow’s butt. And every kid got a whiff. They’d walk out the doors, smiling and squinting in the sunshine. And then their faces would fall and they’d wince as the stench curdled their noses.

I did not have my wallet with me, so the carwash was out. Instead at home, I enlisted Hadley in hosing down the car. The smell diminished but it stuck firm. There was too much poop under the wheel wells.

Martin couldn’t stand it, so he drove to the carwash the next day. Out went the ancient french fries and cracker crumbs. For the time being the car is startlingly free of trash. And thankfully, bovine odor too.