Cup holders — it all began a few days ago when I was unable to put my drive-thru dollar drinks in my cup holders. It was a fiasco witnessed by the drive-thru attendant as she held my much needed drinks out the window patiently waiting for me to take them out of her hands and drive away. 

I recognized I was probably holding up the line and affecting the drive-thru team’s serve time efficiency average as I fumbled around in my car focusing on those center-console cup holders. After all, this should be a quick and easy handoff!

It wasn’t the engineering of the cup holders that was the problem. It wasn’t that I had other already-used-cups filling the holders that was causing the delay.

What was making me scramble at the last second was a scenario that plays out in my vehicle more than I’d like to admit. It’s a constant battle between maintaining the availability of convenience or utilizing a place to put things other than cups for safekeeping.

During harvest, my cup holders are generally used for the later, a mobile junk drawer of sorts.

Since we are currently “knee-deep” in our fall harvest, you can generally find washers, nuts, bolts, tiny tubes, fuses, tools and a lot of thingamajigs residing in those cup holders. Sometimes the items are small and flat enough to put a cup on top of and I can get away with driving around knowing that my cup and beverage will stay in its assigned spot. 

Other times, I’m fumbling around in a drive-thru trying to relocate ears of corn, scoop out soybeans or find a better “safe spot” for a small, yet essential item that could potentially stop harvest if it was misplaced. 

Where does one put these items to make space for cups? I could put everything on the floorboard, but risk losing that little oddly-shaped essential “thing” that is staying safe in the confines of the cup holder. 

I could potentially put these items in the side pocket of my car door. But it’s also full of even larger items that should have been put back in a toolbox.

I could temporarily put the ears of corn in my lap then throw them away once I get to the trashcan at the end of the drive-thru. But maybe my husband is saving them for a good reason. Besides that’s only the corn. What about all of the other things?

I could just leave everything where it is and give my passenger the responsibility of keeping both cups from spilling.

All of these scenarios whirl through my mind as I briefly take in the view from my rearview mirror knowing full well that I’m holding up traffic and keeping hungry people from their fries. 

That is until I hear an angelic voice ask, “Would you like a drink carrier for these??” 

Oh, if she only knew! 

I know as soon as the fall harvest wraps up my vehicle will get a good cleaning and all of the items currently residing in my cup holders and door pockets will have new homes. My insulated mugs and drive-thru drinks will once again easily fit into my cup holders

But until then, I’m sure this scene will play out at least one more time this fall. And I will again drive away reminding myself with a chuckle, “That’s just life during harvest time.”