I wish I had a photo, but this happened in about 1994, the summer after my freshman year of college, sooo...

My band was going to an actual recording studio about an hour’s drive away, and meeting our drummer there (he was arriving early to set up his kit). We had five songs to demo so we could so some regional touring over the summer. Super psyched.

Anyway, my Beetle broke down, which was the car the guitarist and I were going to take, so we had to take his car - a 1980-something Buick Century coupe.

The car was so filled with garbage that we had to spend at least an hour cleaning it out just so I’d have a place to sit and space for our gear. I vividly recall filling up three full-sized trash bags before we’d even gotten to the trunk. The most amazing thing about this was how the garbage was stratified. This was an archaeological expedition. Did you see that documentary about the dig to uncover the Atari cartridges in the New Mexico landfill? Like that.

The car had belonged to his mom, then his oldest sister, and then his next oldest sister. All of them were animals. Animals! The top level was his fast food sacks and guitar magazines and receipts and college books. Condom wrappers (and how the contents of those wrappers were used inside this rolling dumpster is beyond me, to this day, and I’ve never asked). Then we started hitting the good stuff. Love notes from 1988. A high school yearbook from 1986. Numerous cassettes - Prince, Huey Lewis & The News, Missing Persons, Aldo Nova. Tampons. Used tampons. An algebra 2 textbook. Mail from 1982, unopened. A JC Whitney catalog. A dead lizard. Possibly a rodent nest. Man-At-Arms and Teela action figures. ENough Star Wars accessories to fill a shoebox (he’d play with toys as he rode in the back as a kid). When we got to the bottom we found fucking Burger Chef sacks. Burger Chef. With petrified french fries in the bottom.

You’d think he’d learn the error of his ways, but when we took his van to San Francisco in 1998 to try getting a record deal (didn’t happen), we spent several hours removing papier mache corinthian columns and squirrels from his van. WHen he sold the van about 10 years later, he found remnants of that road trip in the bottom layer of garbage: Dr. Pepper cans, AP Magazines, burned CDs of old Genesis albums, Band-Aids, Wendy’s sacks, etc. He now lives in a 450 sq ft tiny house with his girlfriend and her daughter, and is among the tidiest people I know. Weird what love can do.