Nature Hates My Car

*To avoid confusion (and disgust), neither of the pooped on cars in the photos are my car (which, thankfully, wasn’t pooped on that bad).

I hate having a dirty car. Regrettably, I don’t hate it enough to clean it on a regular basis, which is unfortunate because nature hates my car and seems to be waging war against my wheels. How often do I wash my car? It’s not really a question of How often, but more of a question of When. A car washing session is imminent when I start avoiding friends for fear they’ll recognize me in my dirty car. When has truly arrived once I can no longer make eye contact with strangers on my commute to and from work because of my car shame.

I wish it weren’t the case, but I’m terrible when it comes to washing my car. If I could, I’d be one of those car aficionados who won’t settle for less than a mirror finish. I want to be the one who owns a buffer and all the accouterments of good car care — but that’s not who I am. Oh, I’m that guy right after I buy a new car, but it never lasts long. Three months tops before everything starts collecting dust (including my car).

In fact, I just got this Memory from Facebook mocking my car-washing deficiencies:

Screen Shot 2019-02-19 at 10.20.13 AM

When I bought my Mazda 3 back in 2014, I babied that thing for the first three months and bought a specialty shampoo (their term, not mine), soft microfiber cloths, car wax (I only waxed it once), and a clay bar kit to remove micro-contaminants from the car’s finish (also used one time). It got that loving care for maybe another month and then my zeal began to wane because no matter what I did, the outcome was always less than perfect. I could never get the car looking as immaculate as a true detail guy could.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Read a sample of my book [/perfectpullquote]

So I grew lazy and stopped washing my Mazda for months at a time — I think I’ve gone up to 6 months between car washings. (I console myself that I’m helping the environment by not wasting water on a vanity project.) I will get out a big brush called a California Duster when things get really grimy, but that only helps so much. Five years later, I still have the same bottle of specialty shampoo.

Nature is my foe

Recently, my car needed washing thanks to the Arizona bird population. I like birds. I like them enough that I actually buy bird seed and feed them. And how do they repay me? By pooping on my car. While not quite a pooapocolypse, this last time was bad enough to draw curses from me. I don’t know what their deal is, but they seem to abhor a pristine semi-clean paint job.

bird poop covered car.
Man, birds really hate this poor bastard.

Trees I am also fond of particularly their shade when the Arizona sun is blazing overhead. But the sap-dropping bastards are another enemy of my car. I don’t know what kind of tree I recently parked under, but it was definitely the wrong one. It dropped sap down on my car like it was trying to encase it in amber. Globs of amber sap spattered everywhere like an arboreal money shot.

To top it off, there was a colony of delinquent birds sitting in the tree with nothing better to do than crap their brains out for hours. It was vile.

Far Side cartoon How birds see the world
Pretty much.

I’ve only had avian kind desecrate my car worse than this once before. It was when I still drove my beloved Celica. One morning, I went into my garage to head to work and noticed the roof of my car was absolutely disgusting.

Now, here’s the mystery. My car had been relatively clean when I parked it in the garage the evening before.

I couldn’t figure it out. What the hell had happened in the intervening hours? Seriously, it looked like a previously constipated condor had suffered explosive diarrhea and defiled my poor Celica.

condor with spread wings
This is what I thought pooped on my car.

Suddenly, with a slight flutter of wings, I had my answer. There, perched on the garage door opener above my car, sat the intruder, the fattest quail I’d ever seen, looking quite smug about his handiwork.

fat quail
This was the culprit

I have no idea how he’d gotten into the garage unobserved — quail spend a lot of time on the ground so he must have run in right before I closed it. And with nothing else to do, he had sat up there all night above my car pooping out an avian modern art masterpiece.

Jackson Pollock Autumn Rhythm (Number 30)
Little known fact, Jackson Pollock’s previous life as a pigeon influenced his painting style.

Anyway, this time I tried washing my Mazda with my specialty shampoo, and it got rid of the bird poop but the sap drops resisted every attempt to remove them. So I went and bought some Goo Gone and that kind of got some of the sap, but not all of it. I had to spend a miserable amount of time slowly trying to remove the sap. If I’d known how difficult it was going to be, I might have traded my car in. It’s enough to make me wish that the Phoenix metro area had actual mass transportation so I could be done with it and go carless.

So now my car is moderately clean. But nature hates my car and the grunginess on the paint is starting to build. Maybe a solution is to buy a monthly pass to an automated carwash? After all, no one should have to drive around in shame.

P.S. The Houseguest just mentioned that when a bird pooped on her while she was in India visiting her relatives, her aunt commented that it’s a sign of good luck. Someone told me the same thing when a bird pooped on me once. I dunno — sounds like propaganda from someone who got shit on by a bird because having something defecate on you sounds like the exact opposite of good fortune.


Autumn Rhythm (Number 30)

Jarek Tuszyński / CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (

The Far Side by Gary Larson

20 thoughts on “Nature Hates My Car

  1. Had a similar sap and bird attack on my kids’ Honda — parked under a Mesquite tree for months – then one day — sap and shit rained down like god on Noah…


  2. Why not make a remake of Hitchcock’s Birds, where instead of attacking with their beaks, the birds would be crapping all over humans?

    I had no idea there are special car shampoos!


    1. Sean D. Layton

      Good idea!

      I had no idea about it either until I went to an automotive store. They had soaps and shampoos but I don’t know what the difference was (probably all the same stuff with different marketing labels). In the end, it’s all probably dish-washing soap with a little carnauba wax thrown in.


    1. Sean D. Layton

      Hey, I appreciate the kind words! I’ll stop by and check your post and blog out a little later today when I have time. Thanks!


    1. Sean D. Layton

      Glad you enjoyed it, Gunjan. I’m actually debating going out and washing it today, but we’ll see if I can convince myself.


    1. Sean D. Layton

      Luckily neither car in the photos is mine (mine wasn’t that bad). I meant to take pictures of it but, naturally, I procrastinated and didn’t. By the time I actually got around to writing my blog post, it was no longer as bad as it had been. The sap drops were still there, so I tried taking a picture of them but against my white paint — they didn’t show up that well (or my phone camera sucks).


    1. Sean D. Layton

      Dunno. I imagine the driver left it there for some time. (That’s not actually my car). I didn’t think to take a photo of my car until later on.


  3. It does seem like every time a car gets washed, a bird finds it. Nate seems to have this luck. He’ll get his car absolutely clean and then, out of nowhere–even if my car and his car are parked in the same driveway–the bird always picks his. He’s the lucky one, I guess!


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