Ramblings From an Apathetic Adult Baby

From Justin Gawel: Eccentric Dirtbag

The Minivan Backseat: A Filthy Frontier

Great empires fall, the brightest stars burn out, masterpieces fade, and minivan backseats inevitably become sticky, disgusting, and uninhabitable places.  The enfilthment of a backseat is like erosion; a slow process, but, given the time, sediment from all regions will be deposited in the minivan’s backseat usually taking the form of spilled colas, spilled Kool-Aids, and spilled science fair projects.


You can’t fight the machine on this one.  Like a moth to light, the backseat of any minivan is going to attract a certain level of nasty, stank trash-doody.  Frankly, you’d be better off trying to get water to boil at sixty degrees Fahrenheit or tying to teach a mentally impaired horse how to read rather than trying to keep a minivan backseat clean.  I realize it would still be near impossible to teach a non-mentally impaired horse to read, but it would be extra tough if the horse was, how should I say, wealthy in the chromosome department.  I’m off topic, I don’t mean to debate the tenants of equine literacy, but, basically, what I’m trying to say is that it’s a pseudo-law that a minivan backseat will get disgusting.


If you’re not taking care of children currently because you never had kids, you’re kids abandoned you, or maybe they’re dead or something then I can safely assume that you’re not in the market for a minivan.   But, for the experience, flashback to 1997—my mom, taking care of two kids who take up every spare minute of hers with bickering over watching Clarissa Explains it All or The Wonder Years, decided to purchase a 1997 Plymouth Voyager.  Flash, swag, prestige—driving off the lot I can assure you the minivan had none of those qualities, and, somehow, had even less of those qualities years later when my mom sold the vehicle in exchange for a partially used gift card to Applebee’s.


The lack of resale value was not my mom’s fault.  In fact, I distinctly remember wiping boogers on everything I touched in that van.  I remember the time I started digging in the crevices of the seat only to discover a treasure trove of Jolly Ranchers and Skittles that were all fused together in a hair-covered, sugary cluster that was big enough to choke a dog.  I put the wad back in the seat; knowing that it would be a fun surprise for someone else down the road.  It didn’t stop there though, every vacation in which fast food was ingested over car rides resulted in a few rogue fries escaping into the seat folds and sodas being spilled in the cup holders thus creating sticky pools of syrup which were resistant to any cleaning attempt.


The field trips didn’t help.  A seventh-grade trip to see an afternoon performance of the musical Grease turned sour after a fat, mean girl was assigned to ride with us.  I mean, the knowledge of having a chubby child in your car is already going to hurt the resale value, but that wasn’t enough for Little Miss Two Mayonnaise Sandwiches For Lunch, no, even though we were leaving for the play right after lunch she still saw it necessary to bring a goodie bag filled with pretzels, Slim Jims, and Ring-Pops that she proceeded to hoard and munch on during the ten-minute ride to the show.  In the spirit of Grease I won’t tell you more, tell you more anymore detail about this large mammal grazing in the backseat of said van, but the result of her presence was a half-eaten and melted Ring Pop jammed in the seat pocket, a bunch of wrappers in the storage compartment, and a streak on her seat that we all prayed was just chocolate.


The Kelly Blue Book rated the brown stain as “undesirably tragic” and proclaimed that it was certain to doom the re-sale value of the vehicle.  By the end the person we sold the van to declared he would be selling it to the booming Detroit ashtray industry that would turn said minivan into several hundred trays for ash.   A fitting afterlife for an existence spent being filled with garbage.  And, akin a morbidly obese scuba diver dying after being mistook for a trophy fish and harpooned, it was a sad end to a sad life.


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31 responses to “The Minivan Backseat: A Filthy Frontier

  1. honeydidyouseethat? December 28, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Our old Plymouth Van, (wine coloured), according to the salesman, went to a better place. No candies, but for 7 years sunflower seeds stuck everywhere?

  2. Doggy's Style December 28, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    That’s so true, a minivan back seat is like the twilight zone you never know what you gonna get in there. Nice post, made chuckle, good thing for a Friday at work.

  3. candycanecoolio December 28, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Wait, you forgot the hundreds of water bottles that you always forget to return to the trash stuck under the seats.

  4. T E Stazyk December 28, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Your mom should have sold it to the CSI academy so students can practice evidence gathering and analysis on the back seats!

  5. bensbitterblog December 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    I am so glad that our seat is finally gone. When we did finally get rid of it, we found Atlantis underneath along with some Aztec gold, and Jimmy Hoffa. The gold was no good anymore, Atlantis spilled out of the van, and well, we just returned Hoffa back to his gang. As far as anyone else knows he is still missing.

  6. mindbender99 December 28, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    We have a 2000 Dodge Mini Van, and I can testify that we have yet to take on the brave yet futile attempt to revive it to its once great glory… We have three kids and they are famous for sneaking in leaves, bugs and just about anything else they can find that does not belong in a van… Thanks for the laugh…

  7. The Guat December 28, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    HA! This was hilarious. Thank you for the laugh! I’ve had relatives in town for the holidays and it’s only been day five and there is massive tension in the house. Thanks for making me laugh. I’ve got two kids, but no minivan … yet my backseat has become victim to the filthy frontier :) ” Little Miss Two Mayonnaise Sandwiches For Lunch … Slim Jims and Ring Pops …” I love that line.

  8. Amy December 28, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Hahaa! That mystery streak on the seat is unfortunately a memory for me as well!

  9. Denise Hisey December 28, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Ah a trip down memory lane, only in this case I am the mom! ;-)

    Our kids were horrified with The Van. (also a Plymouth Voyager) When our daughter got her driver’s license she continued riding the school bus as she refused -a matter of pride- to drive The Van.
    It had discarded garlic fries, squashed juice boxes, dog hair, sand and who knows what else before it was donated to …dare I say it? to the Blind! Honestly, they came and picked it up from us! That was a happy day for my kids!

    • justingawel December 28, 2012 at 11:47 pm

      Hahaha, donating to the blind is a great way to get rid of a filthy van! I do remember the days of being horribly embarrassed to drive the family van, mostly because I am a terrible driver and have trouble with any car larger than a Focus.

  10. UndercoverL December 29, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    I refuse to drive a minivan, despite having 6 kids, because they look awful (though part of me loves a minivan because you simply cannot beat the practicality and fuel efficiency of them when you have a family the size of a classroom). But I will never purchase one. I am too vain. Having said that, I drive an Expedition that gets 6.7 MPG city and 7.8 MPG freeway. I have goo and suspicious marks all over my car. I have a stick figure etched into my window tint from a car trip to Disneyland that got boring. I have a mysterious something that exploded all over the roof of the car (I don’t allow my kids soda pop, so I have to wonder what it is), and no matter how much I try, I still cannot figure out why it smells like a sweat-lodge in there. I found all the rogue sippy cups, but the smell persists months later.

    Your comment about the used Applebee’s gift card sparked a story. You’ll have to check it out when it gets published.

  11. lizandrio December 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    My boyfriend has a van that I am hoping will go to a better place once his masters is done in a year….I’m thinking Range Rover?

  12. TharpSter December 30, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    I think I donated some money to further the cause of equine literacy this last year. Otherwise, this was a good read. Thank you very much.

  13. Maggie O'C January 2, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    I’ve never had a mini-van but I did have a moth infestation in my Explorer. The bug guy asked if there was “a food source” in the car. Well, duh. I have two children there is enough old hardened McDonald’s food back there to start a new moth civilization.

    • justingawel January 2, 2013 at 6:57 pm

      Moths, that is awesome! We had a good amount of ants, but my mom sold the van before we ever had an exterminator come by. I wonder how may calls they get of just people needing to de-infest their vehicles.

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