June 14, 2013 in Features

The Slice: Straight from the Febreze fail department

By The Spokesman-Review
 

There is a reason I have never gotten into fixing up vintage cars.

Besides lacking the know-how, that is.

It’s this. I do not believe any auto restoration can ever totally expunge the permeating aroma left by gooey junk food and sticky beverages dropped/spilled during multiple drive-in movie double features decades ago.

Just thinking about that smell makes me feel, well, not so good.

I believe that if a little kid upended a strawberry milkshake in a car in 1963, the resulting sour scent will linger in the vehicle forever.

Oh, sure. You could rip out the seats and carpeting. You could remove the ceiling liner. You could use industrial strength cleaning products on every interior surface.

But the way I see it, once a car stinks, that’s it. No air freshener will change that.

It’s not just the power of suggestion. It is my sense that 50-year-old buttered popcorn crammed into invisible crevices and Fudgsicle juice soaked down to the car’s metal frame leave telltale odors that can be detected here in the new century.

In fact, if visitors from another world poke around at abandoned auto salvage yards while visiting Earth in the year 2525, one of their first questions is apt to be, “Ewwww, what’s that smell?”

“Our sensors indicate it emanates from the molecular remains of a soft-serve ice cream cone dropped in that station wagon in 1971.”

“Whoa. No wonder humans disappeared. Brother, that is stout.”

Sure, people have spilled food in cars in every imaginable setting over the years. But there was something about drive-in movies. Cars became veritable junk food snacking chambers. And there was an extra strong gravitational pull on mustard-laden corndogs and syrupy slushies.

“Oops. Dahhhhhd. Timmy made me spill my Tub o’ Chili!”

Kids managed to get various forms of edible sludge inside door frames, down radio speakers and, well, you name it.

We’ve all heard about drive-ins as a setting for amorous adventures. But a more prevalent occurrence at the outdoor movies involved fast food fumbles.

That’s why you don’t hear people wax nostalgic about old car smell.

Today’s Slice question: Ever had a flag stolen?

Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. Don’t make me pull over.

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