Its pretty hard to be hands off while driving a car. I have seen people doing it: driving while combing their hair, eating, putting on makeup and the worst, texting. I know you’ve seen them too. Why am I struggling with being a hands off driver? The steering wheel in my car is made of evil rubber, therefore  contained Thiuram Mix. Because of my allergy I’m not supposed to touch it. Truth be told I was afraid to touch anything in the car – rubber is everywhere! The local car dealership, where I bought the car, was getting the Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), but that could take weeks. Even though the weather had turned colder I still didn’t want to have to wear gloves all the time in the car, so what to do?

Because all our answers can be found on all knowing magical internet I jumped on line to look at steering wheel cover options. I was so pleased with myself to find such a simple solution. One after another steering wheel cover was ruled out because they had elastic as part of their construction. I got lost looking at the endless crazy patterns steering wheel covers came in. There’s a cover for every possible theme or heart’s desire. A couple websites offered special order covers. If you couldn’t find what you were looking for they’d make it. I had to pass on them too because theirs included elastic. Vinyl options were out there, but I still wasn’t sure if vinyl was safe with a Thiuram Mix allergy, so I passed on them. I found leather ones, but they were beyond my budget.

I told my friend, Linda, about my dilemma and she suggested I get some jute rope and wrap it. That was a great idea, but jute rope would be hard to come by in Ely so I dismissed the idea. Later that week, in the hardware store for some screws I remembered Linda’s idea. I wandered down the isle where the rope is sold to see what they had, just n case. I carefully read each package for the materials the ropes were made of and was not finding any natural fibers. There on the bottom shelf was clothes line mad of 100% cotton. I felt my heart skip a beat. Let me tell you, gratitude is quick and easy for the little things these days. I was giddy. I held my treasure to my chest and walked to the front to pay for it.

“You look pretty excited about that clothes line,” said the clerk looking at me quizzically.

“Yup. You have no idea,” I responded.

When I came out of the hardware store I found it had started to rain and sleet. I drove home, dashed into the house to get a scissors and eagerly ran back out. I began wrapping my steering wheel while the Dudley, my dog, watched with curiosity from the back seat.

Wrapping the wheel was a greater challenge than anticipated. The wider joints where the center met the wheel itself required me to use some untested weaving skills. Actually, I don’t have any weaving skills. Finding the beginning of the rope provided my first obstacle. I was convinced I got it going from the best end, you know the one where it just magically unravels without any fuss – I didn’t find that end.

As I wrapped I pulled the line as taught as I could, assuming it would stretch over time. Not even a quarter of the way around I found myself with a tangled mess of rope and cold fingers. I wondered how it could have possibly gotten so cold in the car so fast. (I’d already been at it for 30 minutes.) I started the car for warmth. I couldn’t let cold fingers stop me. Dudley lost interest, curled up in a ball and went to sleep. So much for my cheering section.

Particles of cotton floated in the air around me as I repeatedly struggled to pulled the tangled mess through the openings. The dash started to look like it had snowed on it. I blew the cotton out of my nose and I wondered if breathing the cotton in was good for me. I pushed that thought away, I was determined to finish this project.

I was spending more time unraveling the tangled mess than wrapping the wheel. Frustration set in and I started to feel self conscious and wondered what my neighbors thought, “Why doesn’t she get out of the car?” I stared at what was now the biggest knot I had ever seen like somehow staring at it would magically unravel it. The giddiness I’d felt at the hardware store had evaporated and I was mired in tediousness. I’m not known for handling tediousness very well. True to form, my temper got the better of me and I pounded on the wheel. I was ready to throw the wad of rope and the damn steering wheel out the window. I went in the house for a cup of tea while Dudley slept contently in the back seat.

I stared out the window shooting daggers from eyes toward the car. How could a simple task like wrapping my steering wheel unhinge me so quickly. “That damn clothes line is NOT going to win,” I said to myself as I headed back out. Only one option remained – I had to cut the rope wad loose from the wheel to unravel the mess. That meant there’d be a seam, more like a knot. It was hard enough to anchor the rope at the bottom without using any adhesive (allergic to that too). I didn’t want a big knot that would hinder driving.

It took nearly as long to unravel the wad of rope as it had to wrap half the wheel. I connected the cut line to the line already on the wheel without too big of a knot and continued wrapping. My little project just kept dragging on. With nearly two hours in I made it all the way around. With some finesse I secure the end of the rope. I sat back to look at my handiwork determined to appreciate it. It didn’t look that bad, but it sure couldn’t be described as pretty. I was proud of the ingenuity I used to get around the obstacles. Perhaps this will be a new trend.

If you follow my lead and do something similar, please send me pictures.