Friday, March 15, 2013

All Washed Up

As odd as it may sound, some pretty interesting things happen at the car wash. Aside from remembering that your car originally had whitewalls after a good scrubdown with the tire brush, let me recount a few observations I made one recent warm afternoon.

First of all, let me say that the car wash isn't a good place to take your off-roading truck after a merry jaunt through Mud Bog Bottom. Sure, Jerry did a dandy job of making that '78 Bronco gleam, but the four hundred pounds of red clay glory he left in one of the you-wash-it stalls meant that the other thirty-seven of us had to divert to the remaining stations while the man who operates the business had to stop doing paperwork in order to spray and brush off so much mud that the EPA threatened to declare Southwest Roanoke County a disaster area.

Then there were the goings-on over in stall number three: while Debbie was busy yelling at the rinsing wand ("I already PUT a token in you!" was shouted at a machine requiring TWO tokens), her offspring were twisting the dial on the machine, peeking into other stalls, and even laying on the wash floor, doing their best Michael Phelps imitations to the I'm-losing-my-mind chagrin of the poor woman. By the time Debbie found another token, the little ones were already in shriek mode about "how cold it is". Amidst the whines and giggles, the future Olympic hopeful was banished to the back seat of the minivan. "And don't touch anything !" was the-all too-predictable admonishment of a mother who had spent the entire winter looking forward to scrubbing Crayola's finest off the sliding door of Dodge's best kiddie cab. Now faced with unexpected time pressure, Deb had to choose whether to wipe down the wheels or clean the insides of the windows. Perhaps she would have just enough time to address both issues before the junior swimmer came down with a cold resulting from his delightfully juvenile antics.

Meanwhile, in the stall to my right Biff the business major (my assumption, given his fifty dollar haircut, his beyond-black sunglasses, and his utter lack of emotion) was busily giving his hand-me-down BMW a second wipe-down with a genuine imported Armani chamois while his girlfriend Buffy spent the time sitting on the vacuum cleaner port, engaged in some ego-building posing for her upcoming career as an Elle model. The car, now sufficiently tidy, was given a subtle nod of approval by the boy determined to bring the yuppie movement back into style. "Could you take your shoes off? I just had the floor mats shampooed by Petra Blaisse", said Biff to his girlfriend, whose reply of "whatever" signalled to the boy that she clearly wasn't happy about his attention being placed exclusively on his Bimmer.

For my part in the social event,  I managed to attract several amazed looks as I began cleaning out the interior. I felt subconscious about that. Oh, how I was going to wow the car wash crowd with the gallons of Armor-All applied lovingly to the interior.  "Yes", I imagined myself telling the automotive-pampering crowd. "Look all you want, but please don't touch this fine example of engineering excellence." I pondered the image of mirrors and stanchions roping off the car amidst an army of professional photographers Ala car show entries. Turns out that no one besides me knew just how many fast food bags can be stuffed into the rear floor of a car.

Well, me and the owner of the car wash.

The answer is eighty-seven.

No comments:

Post a Comment