Last week I watched a man secure his gardening gloves (stored conveniently in his backseat) before touching the gas pump. Either the man has a fragile skin condition, he’s a germaphobe, or he refuses to have his hands smell like gas. Regardless of the reason, it reminded me of the many OCD-like actions people take with their vehicles.
I once knew a person (who shall remain nameless) who set his volume button on the car stereo to 12 before exiting the car. I asked him what the reasoning was for this strange behavior, and he replied simply “I like the volume on that level.” But I suspect it had much more to do with having control over his vehicle, and subsequently his life, than with the actual car volume.
Still others have special rituals for getting into the car—the order they turn on their lights, radio, adjust their seat, etc. The truth is, people’s vehicles reflect their personalities, and sometimes the vehicle becomes their own microcosm of control in the world—the one place where the radio is always set to the right station, and everything is how it “should” be. In a world where little is under our direct influence, the vehicle can always be a place (as weird as it may be) for whatever rituals you want. So set the music to 85 when you get out, leave the wheel just a little to the left, or duck tape your steering wheel bright pink. That’s the beauty of being the master of your own universe—er, at least your own vehicle.