Back in the spring of 1993, there was a Seinfeld episode entitled “The Smelly Car,” in which Jerry’s car picks up a persistent pong - possibly due to a valet’s body odor - and eventually must be abandoned, for its stench clings to everyone who rides in the car.
That episode resonated with me. Back in my early Snot-Nose Days, my Dad had the use of a company truck. Riding in that truck was exciting and a bit scary for little old me, for it was so much higher up than our family sedan. But any pleasure I may have had disappeared one day after a gallon of concentrated liquid cleaner spilled on its floormats. Even after a thorough washing, that powerful detergenty aroma never went away... and it was obnoxious in extremis. I avoided that truck from then on.
A number of years ago, one of our friends spilled milk in the wheel well of her car. The ensuing Spoiled Milk Pong impelled her to trade that car in as soon as she could scrape the maggots out of the wheel well. And yet another friend traded in a brand new car the very morning after an incident involving too many Margaritas - an incident that is best left to the imagination.
The Mistress of Sarcasm can now hear these stories with a sympathetic ear, for she has just had her own adventure with Car-Funk.
A week or so ago, she began complaining of an unpleasant smell in her ride. Following our recommendation, she took it to a car wash and had it thoroughly scrubbed... but the stench not only got worse, it picked up an additional mildewy aroma.
Given that she was facing a 1200 mile drive in the next few days, having a stinky car was not an option. So she began rooting about under the seats to see if she could find the source of the aroma.
She found it.
A friend had been riding with her some time back and had been carrying a metal travel canister full of coffee. Somehow, the canister ended up under the passenger seat, where its contents proceeded to ferment and funkify most fiercely. Thank Gawd the damn thing was sealed up: Had any of the contents leaked out, we would have had to set fire to the car.
How bad was it?
Let me put it to you this way. Imagine an exquisite blend of spoiled milk and shit, with just the faintest whiff of Dead Body. That gives you a starting point. Now dial it up until the Stench-O-Meter begins to melt. It was bad enough so that you could actually see wavy Stink-Lines rising from the car just like in the comic strips.
We took the offending cylinder and eighty-sixed it, burying it deep in our garbage bin lest it scare hardened sanitation engineers away. (Fortunately, our trash pickup was later that very day.) Then began the lengthy airing-out process. Thank Gawd for Febreze Industrial Strength!
I am happy to report that the situation appears to have been rectified. And I’m thankful... because it would have been so hard explaining to the neighbors why we were burning that car in the driveway.