Contents of a Car

I cleaned out my car. There was more stuff than you might expect. And it was a study of humanity.

Contents of a Car
Brenda Jeffreys photo

I cleaned out my car. It was a bunch of stuff. It took a while.

I was helped by my wife and son.

There was more stuff than you might expect. And it was a study of humanity. It was the stuff that collects in a car over time.

There was car stuff I threw out.

An old windshield sunshield. A mysterious small plastic thing. A wipe for lenses,

 I used to wear glasses. Now I just guess where I’m going.

I kid! I had surgery and see great. I don’t need wipes for lenses.

The super-cheap, plastic sunglasses given to me by an optometrist were tossed.

There was a reporter’s notebook down to its last page. I’d like to let that sit there briefly.

Reporter’s Notebook. Last Page.

 Aw shit. The sunglasses up above in that holder. We forgot them. Farewell.

Both the police officer in charge and the guy who towed the car – it was silver, annoyed my wife by being a coupe, was styled in a too-heavy-handed way to try and make it look more sporty (when it’s a Honda Accord for God’s sake) – said it was totaled. My 2016 Honda Accord with 57K miles was done. 

I kept some things, but decided to keep them elsewhere.

Those packets of peanuts were two for a dollar at HEB. I had a couple of them.

The Owner’s Manual in its impressive black case. I put proof of insurance forms and stuff like that in there.

I don’t know what I’ll do with it.

I might keep it. I might not.

Here’s the Houston Police Department Record of Vehicle Disposition/Wrecker Slip where they took my car away.

Here’s the Fire Department Captain’s EKG report from after the crash. My pulse and blood pressure were way up there some time after it happened. The Captain recommended an EKG, so I went along. I was okay.

A bill might come for that. An insurance man said that the cash register often starts ringing only if they take me for a ride. We’ll see.

I remember signing a thing that said I declined an ambulance.

 “You’ll hurt tomorrow,” an EMT said. He urged me to take Ibuprofin.
“Hurt like what?” I asked.
“Like you were in a crash.”

I picked up lunch at a restaurant called Roostar. I’m cruising along on Richmond, going west.

An SUV is suddenly in front of me, going left-to-right. I hit the brakes and tried to cut left. I knew it wouldn’t work.

We hit.

It could end in this flash.

My car reels to its right. The other vehicle continues and then spins to its right. It rolls over, falling to the left. It rolls on its top. It rolls again. It rolls over to where it is again standing.

Some dust flies up, like a movie or TV show.

My airbag exploded but I don’t think I ever hit it myself. I don’t believe it exploded as much or as large as what I’ve been shown and told to expect. My shoulder harness did the work. Smoke puffed from the airbag.

I seemed okay.

I decreed that some stuff must be in the next car.

That film container with quarters. I might need it to pay for parking.

The new sunshield. A couple of caps. A container with Ibuprofin and allergy pills. Starter cables.

Chap Stick. Coozies, coffee mug, hairbrush. Key Map, umbrella and more.

A laminated KHOU-TV logo, suitable for the windshield. I never tried to use it, but had it as a parking good-luck charm.

I had a bag with some clothing basics in it, in case I needed it. This goes back to my days as a news reporter. I might need it, but never did.

That bag helped us clean out the car. It’s back.

My key was stuck. I worked on this to turn off my engine and succeeded. I could not remove the key.

And I got out.

People were getting out of the other vehicle. It was a family. Everybody appeared to be okay.

One woman was put on a board by EMT’s, but I think this was preventative.

People gathered. One said there was an accident here yesterday.

There were traffic lights in place that were not yet turned on. They had a covering on the front. I can see where it might confuse.

Police talked with us. I was not at fault. The other driver “failed to yield.” That’s one way to put it.

I eventually moved on and we walked away.

Then I came back. Vehicles were about to be towed out. But I had a CD in the player and wanted to retrieve it.

I succeeded.

Curtis, that CD you made for me decades ago, with 13 albums on it in an early MP3 format, survives.

So do I.

Bill Jeffreys has done radio, TV and print journalism and is now a high school teacher. He spent nearly 14 years as City Hall reporter for KHOU-TV in Houston. Jeffreys was editor of his high school paper, but the yearbook where he teaches is now his cross to bear.