Car karma

By Mir
August 1, 2020

Every so often my dad sends me something in the mail, I think because it then gives him an excuse to call and ask if I got the thing he sent. (He doesn’t need that excuse. But anyway.) He called yesterday and we chatted for a bit, our conversation the twenty-somethingth iteration of “Tell me what’s new and exciting” met with “Well, staying home continues to be very adventuresome, and this week we only watched Hamilton twice!” But before we said our goodbyes, Dad reminded me that my last blog post was from over a month ago and surely I had something I could be writing about.

I always have something I COULD be writing about. That’s never the question. Whether I have something I SHOULD be writing about, well…. Even I can only spin “Hi there, I’m depressed again” into anything vaguely interesting so many times. (Hi. The world is a dumpster fire and my brain is not good at manufacturing delicious neurotransmitters under the best of circumstances, which these definitely aren’t. Sometimes even if I take my medication my brain is an asshole. Draw your own conclusions.)

But I do have one small story to share, since my father guilted me into it asked so nicely. It’s about cars (sort of).

So here we are, mostly staying home. Otto is, as of a couple of weeks ago, an “essential worker” and so he goes to his office most weekdays, but the rest of us, we don’t really go anywhere. I go for groceries every couple of weeks. Chickadee goes to Sunny’s house pretty regularly. Neither of these drives is very long. Monkey hasn’t gone anywhere, to the point where one night I demanded he drive out the scenic route to fetch us all ice cream because I was afraid his car battery was dead. (Also because ice cream. Details.)

Anyway, that’s three cars sitting in the driveway, not moving very often. The other thing you have to understand is that when my darling, wonderful children ARE driving around to various places, they both treat their cars like mobile trash cans. I’m not a fan but it drives Otto absolutely BONKERS because in his religion, a clean car is closer to God. In my offspring’s religion, just take whatever you’re not using and throw it somewhere nearby and hope for the best because God is at best a mystery and also who can be bothered to put things where they belong? So each of their cars houses a variety of items that probably don’t belong there.

Three cars sitting in the driveway, and we had a run of a bunch of rain, and then Chickie went to Sunny’s one day and called me after she got there. “There’s a mouse in my car,” she said. “What do I do?” I asked how she knew, and she said she had a little unopened cup of chicken nugget sauce [Sidebar: she’s a vegetarian, but I think she uses it on her fries?] on the floor (of course!) that has been nibbled/opened. Because I am kind and understanding, I immediately began to lecture her about how this is why we don’t keep food and garbage in our cars, which was super helpful. Finally she interrupted me. “YES, OKAY, but what do I DO?”

I explained that it was very unlikely that a mouse was STILL in her car. Turns out she was worried she would be driving home and it would pop out and scare her. I told her to just come home whenever and we’d have Otto take a look, but probably it was long gone and hooray, what a good excuse she now had to CLEAN OUT HER CAR.

She drove home with great trepidation, but I was right; after a thorough investigation, Otto concurred that the mouse was no longer in there. The next day she pulled out all the crap (winter coats! card games! an entire load of laundry!) and paid her brother a few bucks to completely vacuum it out, and that was the end of it.

A few days later, I got into my car to go get groceries, and there was something on the passenger side floor that caught my attention. Leaning closer, I could see it was some shredded bits of paper napkin (I always keep some napkins in the glovebox). And looking around, I saw some mouse droppings. Damnit. I debated dealing with it before I went to the store, but I really wanted to just get out and get home, so I decided to deal with it later. Don’t think I didn’t also consider the big AHA IT’S NOT BECAUSE MY CAR WAS A MESS that I knew was coming from my daughter, either, because I certainly did. There was no food in my car at all. But the rain… mice look for somewhere dry… okay, fine. I would get the groceries, come home, vacuum the car.

I pulled into the parking lot at the store and pulled out my phone. I was doing a quick scroll through the shopping app to clip my digital coupons when SOMETHING DARTED OUT FROM UNDER THE PASSENGER SEAT and disappeared behind the dashboard.

So much for “there’s no way that mouse is still in your car.”

Now I had to figure out what to do. (The first thing I did was pull my legs up onto the driver’s seat like I was an actual cartoon character. I swear I didn’t reason it out, it just happened.) I could go get my groceries and hope the mouse decided to exit while I was shopping. But the reality was that I was probably going to be driving home with a mouse. Okay. Cool.

I shopped, I loaded the car, I got in and looked around. I drove home as fast as legally allowed. I unloaded the groceries in record time. And then when Otto got home I asked him to please go set a trap in my car. He obliged, even though “probably it’s gone already,” and the next morning my poor little car mouse was evicted. We then reset the trap just in case I was driving around a whole family, or something, but I think it was just the one. Still. I’m scarred. And Chickadee is smug. But both our cars are very clean, so there’s that.

Also I think it’s been at least a month since anyone looked in Monkey’s car. Um. Not it.


  1. Dave

    “Over a month,” he says. I think I last posted in 2017. Time to… clean out Sandy’s car, I guess. We’ve only driven it about a thousand miles since 2017. Mice could be entertaining.

  2. Brenda

    I have had various degrees of problems with mice in multiple apartments. If I ever ALSO had the fear there was one in my vehicle, I think I would declare the world has been taken over by pests and we should all evacuate ASAP.

  3. Erin

    We were driving into town while at the cottage visiting my parents. My poor son was in the back seat and a mouse ran up his leg, along his seatbelt and up over his shoulder into the trunk behind him. Poor guy screamed and cried all the way home from the trauma. My Dad is a saint for helping me evict the mouse when we got back.

  4. atlantagirl

    Hey. So, can I just say that stress can be insidious and one moment everything is fine and then the next you’re hospitalized and getting Xanax? A….friend is dealing with that right now, that’s all I’ll say. You can private message me for the whole story but…yeah.

  5. Lise

    Mice. Ugh.
    I used to be a costume designer for film and TV. I was once in my office, doing ta fitting with a handsome young actor, when a mouse ran out from under my desk and across the room. I instinctively shrieked and jumped up onto a chair. Handsome young actor took it in stride. My assistant carefully shepherded the hell beast out into the hall. And then I died of embarrassment. The end.

  6. Jeanie

    Well now I’m going to be afraid to get in my car.

  7. aNDREA

    2020 is a strange year. :\

  8. Niki

    My mom lives in the frozen tundra (with a garage, of course). One winter I knitted her a beautiful cowl, and she wore it on a long trip, and told me it had given her a rash and made her sneeze (weird, but okay). Then she started having electrical problems with her less than a year old car. She took it in, and there was a giant mouse nest in the engine compartment, and they had nibbled on most of the tasty wiring in the engine. And the stuff that gave her a rash and made her sneeze? Probably mouse poop and dander coming through the vents. The whole wiring system has to be replaced, vents and engine bay cleaned out, and it will probably happen again because cold winter, warm garage, warmer car = mouse nest. But hey – the cowl was innocent and that’s all that really matters.

  9. Daisy

    My minivan was damaged by a mouse (or a few mice). They got into the engine and nibbled on a crucial wire or two. Be glad yours were only after the napkins and the dipping sauce!

  10. Kristin

    I’ve also had meese in my car. Chewed up the wires, $2000 worth of damage. FYI that’s covered by your car insurance. The mechanic told he once looked at a car that had so much mouse damage the insurance company just totaled it. Also, I have 4 cats. This crap shouldn’t happen.

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