Yesterday I spent 15 minutes watching a car chase on TV. The man driving the car was suspected to be armed and in possession of narcotics, and was holding off the police in a grey Scion with only 3 tires. Spoiler alert: They caught him. But we never found out what was in his car, because after the arrest was made the news crew quickly turned their attention to other, more important stories, like how flip flops have recently been linked to frequent urination, or how celery is now suspected of causing hair loss.
The whole chase got me thinking, however, about the things we keep and transport in our car. And, being the product of too many crime shows, I started thinking about how cars can be used to get to know a person in question during an investigation. To me, this is terrifying. There have been many times that the persona given off by my car is not one I’d want to be defined by.
Here are some examples:
When: Yesterday afternoon
Car Contents: 54 Bottles of Coke, 1 pack of Mentos
Probable TV Detective Assumption: I murdered a cult on the freeway and am aware of the cleaning capabilities of coke on asphalt…and I have fresh breath
Actual Explanation: I picked up some refills for the vending machine at work…and I have fresh breath.
When: Last winter
Car Contents: 4 completed Kindergarten level activity books, 3 pairs of dirty tennis shoes in multiple sizes.
Probable TV Detective Assumption: I tutor young children and then steal their shoes. I have a shrine of them in my basement and have deep familial issues.
Actual Explanation: My friends and I drank champagne and raced through the activity books for bragging rights, then aborted our plan to throw our old shoes up in a shoe tree because we were too tired.
When: Two summers ago.
Car Contents: One rotten tomato.
Probable TV Detective Assumption: My heated affair with a chef came to an abrupt end when his wife discovered our indiscretions. The chef is now missing and I know more than I’m letting on.
Actual Explanation: My friends and I participated in a tomato war.
Rebuttal for your Disbelief: I’m serious.
When: Last fall
Car Contents: A custom made wooden pallet for my trunk, covered with boxes filled with 25,000 metal washers.
Probable TV Detective Assumption: I’ve spent years creating a “good girl” image, all the while planning my takeover of the Southern California drug ring. I now live under the identity of a driver at a machine shop, using the job to hide drugs in the boxes and under the pallet.
Actual Explanation: I pick up and deliver Aerospace parts for a portion of my job, some of which destroyed the lining of my trunk. The wooden pallet is the only thing keeping items in my trunk from falling through the floor and puncturing my spare tire.
When: Casual Saturday.
Car Contents: A giant stuffed animal dog, 8 picture frames, cotton balls, a whisk and a pair of metallic earrings.
Probable TV Detective Assumption: I am the most demented criminal they’ve ever seen, in the process of committing my worst deed yet.
Actual Explanation: I went to Target.