I read one of doyle's writeups the other day about all the "stuff" that has accumulated in his backyard over the years (reminds me of my garage). And then I looked at what I'm carrying around in my car. Yikes! I can't even claim that it is an old car and things have just accumulated over time; the Honda's less than six months old. Funny thing is - I can justify most of the stuff (I think). I inventoried it all and it breaks down into a couple of different categories.

The usual stuff people carry in a car

Road maps - a city map - a 1974 US Atlas my folks left in a Buick they passed on to me some years back - frost scraper (yep, even in Florida) - cell phone - folding umbrella - rain poncho (these last two because it is Florida) - spare eyeglasses - complete set of extra office keys - spare house key - battery for garage door opener - pens and pencils - notepaper - change for parking meters and toll booths - more-or-less complete first aid kit - flashlight with extra batteries (fresh?) and spare bulb - snakebite kit (probably out of date - I'd be afraid to use it, anyway) - tire pressure gauge - multi-blade pocket knife.

Stuff for the dogs

Dog rugs for the back seat - extra leashes - window spray and a cloth to wipe the slobber off the back windows - roll of paper towels in case Zöe gets carsick again - a spray can of pet stain remover - some spare plastic bags - a couple of Bronco's teddy bears.

Stuff for me

Hair brush - hair spray - cosmetics - clothes brush (all that dog hair) - shoe brush with built-in clear polish - safety pins - small sewing kit - shoehorn - one black cotton sweater and one white jacket (in case I have to cover up the tee and look a bit formal).

Comfort stuff

Spoon for my breakfast yogurt - napkins - a few CD's - something to read at drive-up windows - small pair of opera glasses for birding at stop lights.

Items in transit

Library books to be returned - items to be exchanged at Wal-Mart's - a basket for stuff to be dropped off at my mom's the next time I'm over there.

That's just inside the car - here's what's in the trunk

The spare tire, the jack and all the usual car stuff in the spare tire compartment (this one is a given).

Dog tie-out lines and ground pegs - water bowls and a 2-gallon jug of water - car rug and a small pillow (also inherited from the Buick) - a pair of 8 x 40 zoom binoculars and an Audubon Guide.

A folding beach chair - a beach mat - several hats - clip-on sunshade lenses for my eyeglasses - plastic flip-flops for the beach (this is Florida).

A folding shovel and expansion mesh strips for under the tires in case I get stuck in sand (this is Florida, remember?).

Thermo bags for frozen goodies purchased at Wal-Mart's - a folding plastic box to carry "stuff" from the car to the house - a couple of cloth shopping bags that just might be useful one day but haven't been used so far.

Good walking shoes and sweat socks in case I get stuck somewhere - a pair of sweatpants and top in case I have to change a tire (I never have yet - some guy always comes along) - WD-40 - work gloves - a jar of hand-cleaning cream and a bunch of old rags.

A blue Eddie Baeur windcheater I "borrowed" from a boyfriend back in my Appalachian Trail days.

An airbed that someone borrowed and returned two months ago and I haven't gotten around to unloading it yet - a plastic tablecloth to spread in the trunk in case I carry something dirty like bags of mulch - the headrest that I can't stand for the driver's seat - a red velvet bow that was on the hood ornament of my old car during the Christmas season (I just realized it is useless because the Honda doesn't have a hood ornament but it might come in handy if my flare doesn't work).

In his writeup doyle notes that if you want to know what someone is like, go sit in their backyard. I suppose the same is true for the contents of a car.