Here's the Scoop: June 4, 2014

Traveling junk
Other than buying a house, purchasing a vehicle is usually among the biggest investments that people make in their lives.
I think it was writer Rick Steves who said something like, “Drive an old car and travel more.” These words of wisdom come from a fellow who has made a nice career out of globetrotting and then revealing his experiences via written word and TV shows. Good deal.
The best deal, I think, would be to drive a decent car and travel, but I get his point. Cars and trucks today cost a small fortune. For most of us, spending a bundle on a vehicle means sacrificing elsewhere. I guess that’s why I find it odd the things that people do to their wheels.
I’ll admit that it’s somewhat of a hobby for me to glance into people’s vehicles to get a little snapshot of their lifestyles. It’s not always pretty.
One pet peeve of mine (among many) is when folks pile up tons of distracting items (usually mail) on the dashboard. First of all, it’s tough enough driving without a bunch of crap piled in one’s field of vision. Plus, why is this mail being saved? If it’s important, do something with it. If it’s junk (likely), maybe recycling is the answer.

More to come
Papers on the dashboard are only the tip of the iceberg inside many vehicles. I’ve seen people driving around with what must be a few years’ worth of newspapers, letters, etc., cluttering up nearly every square inch of their vehicle’s interior. Kind of like a mobile filing cabinet — without the benefit of alphabetical order. Or any other type of order, either.
I’ve noticed that lots of folks seem to enjoy collecting animals in their vehicles. Most often, the animals are dogs. Usually, there is more than one. Kind of like a modern day Noah’s Ark. Often, the dogs are fond of barking wildly at anyone walking past who isn’t involved in their daily feeding routine. That’s just about everyone. It’s not annoying, though.

Can’t get there from here
Of course, in today’s world, many folks have lots of gadgets that they like to tote around. The easiest way to move this equipment is in one’s car. Phones, music players, GPS devices — all of these can be found in vehicles. Nowadays, a lot of these devices are combined into one piece of equipment. This means that old gadgets aren’t used as often. Findings from my Vehicle Watch hobby show that these items are frequently tossed into the backseat, along with the assorted chargers that previously helped power them. It’s good to know they’re nearby. Just in case…there’s a car crash caused by the glare from sunlight reflecting off the papers on the dashboard, or the distraction of a bunch of barking dogs.
I’m not sure why it’s so easy to junk up a vehicle, but I’m just as guilty as anyone. I don’t put stuff on the dash and never haul a dog around, but my car always seems to be full of “things” that probably don’t need to be driven around the countryside. I hate driving a messy car, but it’s usally easier than pulling out the Shop-Vac and removing the miscellaneous stuff that I’ve been chauffeuring around.
Still, I think I will take up Rick Steves on his advice and travel more — starting with a trip to the car wash.
— Brian Sweeney