You may be aware of the semi-sociological experiment I’ve been monitoring in my car. To summarize: on Saturday, May 24, I made a PB&J sandwich for my daughter and wrapped in a paper towel, and gave it to her to eat on a long car ride. She never ate it, and it sat there. For days. Then weeks.
I watched the sandwich carefully to see who might notice and throw it away. Hot Firefighter Husband took my car for an entire afternoon, and the sandwich didn’t move. Twice he rode in the passenger seat, so that the sandwich was, literally, RIGHT UNDER HIS NOSE. But still it remained, a burgeoning fossil, artifact of a maternal kindness gone wrong, a clear indication that no one within my household does A FUCKING THING except me. Half-hearted apologies here to Husband, who vacuums and cuts the grass.
And then, last Friday, the sandwich disappeared. As soon as I realized it, I rushed breathlessly into the house and shrieked, “WHO THREW AWAY THE SANDWICH THAT WAS ON THE DASHBOARD OF SPLENDA**?”
**Splenda is what we call our Mazda mini-minivan.
The children stared at me blankly then returned to their Nintendos. I stood directly in front of the Diva. “Did you even see that sandwich?” I asked.
“Oh, yeah. I saw it. I opened the paper towel with my toe. It was gross,” she said. “I didn’t want to touch it.”
I bent down to the Pterodactyl’s level. “Did you throw it away?” I asked.
“No,” he said. “Wait. No. Well. I might have accidentally put it in the glove compartment.”
Yes. Yes, he did. That’s where I found it, hard as a rock, a Smithsonian exhibit in the making.
The gig was up.
No one in my family will clean up after themselves.
I explained all that above.
I knew what was going on. How long could I stand it?
Different people had access to the sandwich every day.
Children would rather hide trash than be responsible for disposing of it.
I called Husband to report what had been going on. “Did you even notice that the sandwich was there?” I asked.
I heard him sigh heavily. “I’ve given up on maintaining a hygienic environment in the van. It does bother me, but I feel paralyzed.”
Now, you all want to know what I did with the sandwich, and I’m proud/mortified to report that it remains in the glove compartment. Honestly, I don’t feel right about getting rid of it because, really, shouldn’t someone else do it at this point? Also, it seems like an important symbol of several family attributes: resilience, sloth, waste, and lack of focus, to start.
“There’s something wrong with that woman,” one of my friends told another friend. Well, duh! I know that! But if we can’t use these occasions to learn about ourselves, what good are they?
On the flip side, the Pterodactyl started yelling for me last night about a half-hour after he went to sleep, and when I asked what was wrong, he said, “I can’t stop smelling bologna.” And I’m all, Holy Oscar Meyer, what now. I crawled into his bed and started rummaging around, and found the pound of bologna I had been missing since Sunday. You know what I did? I threw it away. Because, you know, I had already proved my point. Boom.