Thursday, April 3, 2014

C ~ Cars: Not Your Living Room #atozchallenge


All Aboard! "It's Very Swedish..." a train on a cultural journey through Sweden, exploring the differences big and small between American and Swedish culture.

***


Swedes think of their cars differently than Americans do.  I remember asking The Swede (my dad) why Volvos didn't have cup holders.  His answer was, "Europeans don't treat their cars like a living room."



We've always driven Volvos, since he worked for the company since 1975. That's probably one of our first cars we're washing in that other picture. That's me, styling, my little brother DataBoy to my right, and a friend of ours (sorry, forgot who..) to my left.

(Hey - I learned how to make a background behind the words!  I just need to learn how to make it lighter...but you can watch the evolution of my picmonkey skills as you learn about Sweden!  Double your money!)

Sweden, as most of Europe, has fantastic public transportation (which will we will get to at "P") therefore not every household has a car.  Even fewer have two cars.  Then there's the fact that even IF they have a car, they don't run around in them like we Americans do.

"Walking distance" has a completely different meaning there.  Communities are smaller, amenities are closer. Some people even WALK to the grocery store to pick up a few items.  (Not me, I send The Transporter...)

Of course, the newer Volvos DO have cup holders.  In fact, oodles of them in convenient places, and hidden pop-out places.  They are adjustable, expandable and can accommodate your Big Gulp or your Nalgene.  It's just that our youngest Volvo is a 1991, and has not a single place to put a cup, unless a passenger will hold it for you.

I would also venture to say that most Swedes keep their cars in a more clean state than we as Americans do.  I've ridden in a lot of minivans with friends with kids, and they look just like my car.  The floor is a trash can, and they put small things like lollipop sticks in the slot where the door handle is supposed to slide open. They mean well - they'll "pick up the trash on their way out", but somehow that never happens.

The Swede's car (as in my dad, not the general population for which I really can't speak) is always immaculate.  He has tried to influence me.  I think though that our car's interior reflects our general "housekeeping" state, as in are we messy and cluttered or do we belong to the "everything in it's place crowd".  I would venture to say though, that since Swede's cars aren't living rooms, they don't have a chance to get as messy as mine.

How about you?  How many cup holders does your vehicle have?  Are you a "Messy Bessy like me, or a "Neat and Tidy Heidi" like The Swede and my Swissie and her husband?  At least some of the Swedish neatness rubbed off on SOMEONE in the family...

~Tina, who should go clean her car after this post...


52 comments:

Steven said...

I've owned several Volvos and a Saab and love both brands! I definitely lean to the Swedish philosophy that a car should not be messy. I've been accused of being anal about cars, as a girl once found out when she tried to sit on my car's fender and slid right off, thanks to the even coat of wax. Most old Europeans have scant to no cupholders.

iamstri said...

Cars - :O Whoa.. call me a tomboy but still I will love cars!!! I can hear my mom yelling about cleaning cars :P :D that alone is my kid bro's job

~S(t)ri
Participant|AtoZ Challenge 2014
Smile, it makes (y)our day!

iamstri said...

Cars - :O Whoa.. call me a tomboy but still I will love cars!!! I can hear my mom yelling about cleaning cars :P :D that alone is my kid bro's job

~S(t)ri
Participant|AtoZ Challenge 2014
Smile, it makes (y)our day!

iamstri said...

Cars - :O Whoa.. call me a tomboy but still I will love cars!!! I can hear my mom yelling about cleaning cars :P :D that alone is my kid bro's job

~S(t)ri
Participant|AtoZ Challenge 2014
Smile, it makes (y)our day!

D Biswas said...

Swedish neatness --I wish my husband had some of it :). Miss you, Tina. Hope you're feeling better.

Damyanti Co-host, A to Z Challenge 2014, Latest Post

Twitter: @damyantig
#atozchallenge


Sheena-kay Graham said...

My dad should be an unofficial Swede. His car is immaculate and from a young age no one could eat in it. Take it home, that simple. I walk to the store to pick up a few items, my mom recruits me sometimes since I'm a walker. Which is funny since the two healthiest people in my family (two siblings) hate walking and will actually bribe me sometimes. It's sad, I mean seriously they exercise everyday.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina .. I don't have kids .. so it's in a reasonable state! I need to take it to the car wash .. it's a sweat washing it here .. running up and down stairs with water is not a good idea ... I could hoover it and that would help the dust and grit on the inside. The Sahara dust needs to come off the outside, along with a lot of gull splatter!

I used to treasure my cars ... not quite so much now .. I do service it - so its innards are healthy!

Cheers and thanks for the brilliant work your doing A-Z .. Hils

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

We have Hondas and they have ample cup holders, even for people in the back. However my husband used to have an Alpha and it only had one - clearly only the driver was important!

My car's not too bad in the clean department. My husband is very car proud and tends to clean them regularly. I do not want to think what it would look like if it was up to me :).
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings

Hannah J said...

My parents had a Volvo when I was a teenager. I loved the seats in the boot that folded into the floor - I'd regularly sit on them even when it was getting painful to fold myself into the boot.

My Dad referred to it as a tank and regularly joked that other road users should get out his way as he was coming through!!!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

My living room doesn't have cup holders...
Your family has remained dedicated to Volvos for a very long time.
And my car? Two cup holders and it's immaculate. No one leaves trash in my sports car. Ever.

Rodrick Cliff said...

As a Professional Writer i have written lot of articles for my friends and customers but this time I have no words for this unique and useful article... We shouldn't have to think bad because "Life is Good".

Cathrina Constantine said...

My car is pretty neat. Hard to keep it immaculate in the winter, though. The floors need cleaning, but will wait until nicer weather to clean. And yes, there are cup holders...

Cathy Kennedy said...

DH's first car, a 1977 Ford Fiesta, did not have cup holders. He bought those plastic cup holders that you stick into your side window. I bet you know what I mean, right? That car was originally manufactured in Germany. I wonder, if that had anything to do with it or that it was a totally basic, inexpensive car.

Our '03 Toyota Camry has two built-in cup holders in the center console in the front & rear compartment.

Now that we are empty-nesters it's easier to keep our car cleaner than before.

Despite our best intentions, our car isn't in pristine order but it's not a pig sty, either. It's obvious well lived in. :)

musicfanandrea said...

I can't compare to America but I definitely noticed a difference even between Hungary (Eastern Europe) and Ireland. (And I don't just mind the side they're driving at lol)
In Hungary public transportation is a lot more developed. I'm not sure which was first (less cars hence the need for buses or convenient public transport doesn't make cars a necessity). In Ireland (esp in the country) not so much. So ppl got so used to their cars that they take it even to short distances, which is a waste really.
Great post, and loved the pics, too :)
Andrea, #atozchallenge Mighty Minion Asset

musicfanandrea said...

I can't compare to America but I definitely noticed a difference even between Hungary (Eastern Europe) and Ireland. (And I don't just mind the side they're driving at lol)
In Hungary public transportation is a lot more developed. I'm not sure which was first (less cars hence the need for buses or convenient public transport doesn't make cars a necessity). In Ireland (esp in the country) not so much. So ppl got so used to their cars that they take it even to short distances, which is a waste really.
Great post, and loved the pics, too :)
Andrea, #atozchallenge Mighty Minion Asset

Andrea said...

Oh how I always wanted a Volvo! I used to have a little plastic one in high school to tide me over....my car is no longer a mess. My strategy was keeping a few plastic bags tucked in the door and one hung on the radio dial for garbage. Since I am typically a few minutes early at whatever pickup, I do a quick once over of whatever I can reach (since most of the clutter was in arm's reach)

Elsie Amata said...

My car is pretty clean. It usually has sand from the beach in it but I wouldn't have it any other way.

When we lived overseas, my hubby bought at a Mercedes that hadn't been changed over to American standards yet. He loved that car! But, it would have cost too much for us to change it all over to our specs. He was so sad when we left it behind.

Elsie
AJ's wHooligan in the A-Z Challenge

CA Heaven said...

Here comes the Volvo stuff; that's what you told me.

I never had a Volvo myself, but I can promise our car is messy inside. That's not my fault, I'm just driving, but the kids sit in the backseat eating all kind of stuff while we're driving to and from the skiing resorts, and just throw the trash on the floor. I tell them to clean up once a year, at the end of skiing season. Also, our cars get worn out, because of kids climbing in and out with alpine skiing boots >:)

Cold As Heaven

Jo said...

Two cupholders, rarely used for cups. Our car is a means of transport not a place for eating and drinking so we belong to the non messy bunch. I have transported coffee before now but only because I was taking it somewhere.

Laura Clipson said...

I was thrilled with the car I got last year because it had cupholders. I hardly ever use them, but they're there.

angelsbark said...

Love this post. Love love love the "It's very Swedish" theme! I'll keep coming back. These are fun!

Mary Aalgaard said...

My minivan turned into a dump after ten years and four kids. I just bought a Subaru and so far, it's pretty clean. Crumby cupholder in the front, though. I busted it right away with a too large bottle.
Play off the Page

detoutcoeur Limousin said...

Hi there from another one of us on the A-to-Z challenge. Lovely post about the volvo. We had one too when growing up :-) Happy blogging to you!

Bish Denham said...

I have an '89 Buick Park Ave with over 200,000 miles on it. She has one cup holder. For a 25 year old car she's in pretty darn good shape. I'm neither excessively messy nor overly neat, but somewhere in between.

AZtech minion here.

Melissa said...

I'm a little of both. I try to keep up with it, but every couple of months, I take it to the car wash to be detailed. It helps that my kids are older. Keeping it tidy with little ones is a tough job.

Fun post! :)

M. J. Joachim said...

A car is a way to get from point a to point b in my mind. It's not a living room, but catching a drink and maybe some french fries when you're out and about is always an option.

MJ, A to Z Challenge Co-Host
Writing Tips
Effectively Human
Lots of Crochet Stitches


Rob Z Tobor said...

I have a fiat Multipla, the old weird looking one, it has cup holders a small table (and a fridge option). I cleaned it once but only on the outside.

Phew there are a lot of blogs to visit.

Lara Lacombe said...

Now that I think about it, I guess I _do_ treat my car as an extension of my living room! :)

David P. King said...

"Europeans don't treat their cars like a living room" - well said! :)

Claudia said...

smiles... that's fun...i don't even know if my car (toyota) has a cup holder...and yeah...it's clean...inside.. i never wash it outside though - even though the germans tend to wash their cares A LOT...smiles... and i only take it if i really HAVE to but prefer to do many things on my bycicle, even grocery shopping with a big rucksack on my back or biking the 20 km to my workplace..

cleemckenzie said...

I hate dirty cars. Maybe I'm part Swedish. I'll have to check.

DAVID WALSTON said...

Of course you can't remember your friend's name. All you see is their backside! My car is a trash can till Wed when trash comes. I roll the trash can up to the car and empty it, then put it by the curb. The trash can not the car! :-)

Michelle Wallace said...

I don't like to drive and eat/drink.... period.
Driving is driving. Eating is eating.
That having been said, my vehicle needs a GOOD wash. I haven't been to the car wash in AGES...
You really think I have time to wash it? No ways. Too many books to read, stories to write, blogs to visit!

Kate @ Another Clean Slate said...

It's been too cold outside for me to clean out my car- so messy now!

Andrew Leon said...

My car, which is the car generally used by my kids, is pretty clean. They get yelled at when they leave trash in the car, so they mostly don't do it. This is the first car I've had since being married that I have been able to keep clean.

My wife, on the other hand, who recently was going to have a co-worker in her car to go to a far off meeting, had to clean her car so that she would not be embarrassed. My wife is generally the only person ever in her car.

Prior to these cars, we never had two cars.
I'll let you figure out the implied meaning.

Andrew Leon said...

Oh, and my first car, a Hyundai Excel, probably an 89, didn't have cup holders.

JoJo said...

I used to keep the car tidy but with the dogs it's been hard. I don't take them out with me much anymore...I don't like to risk it with the car getting too warm and plus also I like the security of 2 dogs at home when I'm not, one of which is a German shepherd.

I used to HATE being behind Volvos out west. The drivers of them always seem to go 5 mph under the speed limit.

loverofwords said...

Perfect, my relatives who could not understand "take out" and "Drive Ins" said, "Why would you eat in your car?"

M.C.V. Egan said...

I was just politely visiting the A to Z co-hosts and to my great surprise I find a post that touched a huge cord. I lived in Sweden in the 1980s and I found your post great fun bridging cultures that are so familiar to me!
Thrilled to be on A to Z #a2zchallenge . I am #1547 http://4covert2overt.blogspot.com/

Herding Cats - Burning Soup said...

LOL oh that's kinda funny. Yes, my Tahoe is...well lived in. lol And full of cup holders thank goodness.

Happy A to Z-ing!
~Anna
herding cats & burning soup.

jenn said...

did you ever see the film the saint with val kilmer and elisabeth shue? the car he drives in that movie? a volvo c70 coupe convertible? i LOVED that thing.

my car's got five cupholders. two of them are in a really bad place, tucked under the dash, in front of the stick. and i have spilt many a can of dr. pepper all over the floorboard because i've tipped the corner of the can on the corner of the stereo when setting it down. pisses me off every time.

Rachel said...

Hahaha I don't have a car and people here are INSANE when they drive, so I walk everywhere I can. My bank, my potential job, and my boyfriend's work are all within .8 miles so I just walk. With grocery shopping, anything more than two non-heavy bags, will require a car. Otherwise I'll walk and get it. I enjoy the fresh air and it makes me feel less guilty about all the electricity I use charging my phone compared to the gas I could be using. haha

Crystal Collier said...

Um, I commented once. "Network error" reared it's ugly face, and now I have to excuse myself to go punch it.

Anyhow, no, my car is not clean. BUT I TRY SO HARD.

klahanie said...

Hey human, Tina,

My human told me he got real excited the day Volvo's stopped looking likes boxes on wheels.

I have two cup holders in my car. Here I am in England driving a Chevrolet.

Penny, the pawsitive host of the Alphabark Challenge, 2014!

Yvonne Ventresca said...

I am relatively neat but feel the need to go clean my cup holders after reading your post! And I definitely want to hear more about picmonkey.

Yvonne

Brian Miller said...

eh, mine has two...they collect hings i find more than they hold cups....my coffee cups find the floor board until i get home...ha...dont treat their cars like living rooms...lol....i have never put much into cars other than that they get me here and there...

bemuzin.com said...

Hub had a Volvo when I met him. We both loved that car - back when Volvo was a Swedish company and cars didn't have cup holders! True to form, Hub's car is immaculate (just like his bathroom sink) and my car is ... well, just please don't go clean your car because then I'll feel compelled to so so; WON'T do so, and then feel even more guilty which I will blame on you.

Samantha Geary Jones said...

Oh, I'm with you on the messy team. My mother always said, "Kids never remember how clean the house was, but they remember the fun and the food." So, I'm guessing I inherited her housekeeping philosophy:) That goes for the car, too, which looks longingly at the neighbor's shiny rides and curses the invention of juice boxes.

WriterlySam
A to Z #TeamDamyanti

TheCyborgMom said...

This post gave me a chuckle. Love the comment about picmonkey (which I love and I'm learning how to use too). I have a Saab and that's my only gripe...not enough cup holders!
~Katie
www.thecyborgmom.blogspot.com

Heather M. Gardner said...

I remember growing up, if a car was able to drive away after an accident it was usually a Volvo.
HMG

amanda lee said...

I LOVE a clean car... but not enough to clean mine. When the kids were growing up, only water was allowed in the car -- unless we were on a road trip, or my husband was with us (my husband can't seem to pass a quick mart without stopping). This did not mean that the car was clean, however. We still had plenty of school papers, dog hair, mittens, and soccer shoes strewn around! Living in the city, it's a bit trickier to clean your car -- I park on the street about a block from my building if I'm lucky, so dragging the vacuum out there isn't going to happen -- at the beach house it's either raining or the sun is shining. If it's raining, I'm not dragging the vaccuum out there, and if the sun is shining I'm going to the beach!

Andi-Roo TheWorldForRealz said...

I used to keep a little bucket in my car as a trash can, but when my car died that was the end of good car housekeeping. My hubz' vehicle is a sad mess. And neither of our cars have cup holders, which is quite annoying. We live out in the country, and the nearest store is a half-hour away. I have to have a drink with me at all times, even if it's just a bottled water!

I'm participating in AtoZ, too.
See you around!
~Andi-Roo
@TheWorld4Realz
TheWorld4Realz.com