I said goodbye today to my 2001 Toyota Corolla.
The Brookland mechanic shop that was warehousing my car told me I had to come and take whatever I wanted. They wanted my car out of their lot. They wanted it junked. I had until this afternoon. When I arrived, I didn’t need to give my name. The dude just said: “Are you Jason?” and then handed over my old keys.
Maybe they really didn’t like my car.
In the shop’s lot, the car took in sunlight through its shattered windshield. Inside, the Corolla’s spent airbags flapped over the steering wheel and glove compartment. It already looked like someone had gone through my shit. That person was probably me right after my accident.
For some reason, I decided to give the car something I had never given it before: a serious cleaning. I dug under the seats and tossed out the old water bottles, the yellowed newspapers, the brochures for seaside resorts. I balled up bits of gum wrappers, bank statements, and old notes and tossed them out. I filled two trash bags with the big stuff. I pocketed 15 cents, five mixtapes, a friend’s blanket, one whiffle-ball bat, one trash bag already filled with older junk, one pair of black socks, one tennis racket, and one BK Star Wars toy.
But my favorite find: one extremely moldy sandwich in a plastic container. Now I know why my car smelled sometimes.
I did not take the sandwich home with me.