Tag Archives: car

How To Go Through a Car Wash

I’ve made no secret of my driving pet peeves.

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But one of the things I find most difficult about operating a motor vehicle is the car wash. In fact, at times I find it down right scary.

It starts with the Herculean task of lining my driver’s side wheels up with the tiny track line that leads into the car wash cave. I carefully watch the attendant for direction—he waves me a little to the left, to the right, no! no! back to the left!—before I finally receive his seal of approval, a raising of his hand and a stern nod of his head.

I quickly exhale and regroup before remembering I have to put it in neutral and take my hands off the wheel and my foot of the brake . This poses dual problems for yours truly, as first I am worried that I will somehow run over the attendant as he does the initial rising off of my car.

This has never been an issue in the past, but yet I have this concern.

Once I am confident I will not be dragging said attendant under my car throughout the rest of the rinse, I am expected to believe that even though I can’t see what’s on the other side of the soapy brushes and gushing water, both me and my vehicle are safe.

Evidence would suggest otherwise, as after the initial rinse, the big red things that look like giant bottle cleaners come flying at my vehicle in all their whirling glory.

At this point I’m still doing fairly well, considering I’m in a car wash, and comforted by the fact that I like clean cars.

But then the blue things start flying at the sides of my car with such force that my external rearview mirror is shoved forward. Considering I have no control over where I’m going and can’t see through the suds anyway, this really shouldn’t be an issue. However, given my OCD, I have to resist the urge to roll down my window and pull it back into its rightful position.

I stay strong. I resist. 

At this point I’m begin to freak out a little more because now I’ve got the big red things flying at my windshield and the big blue things flying at both sides of my car and long linguini-like rags slapping at the roof. I’m convinced that I will be the exception, that they will bust right through my windshield and suffocate me in their sudsy stealth.

So despite the fact that nothing except static will come through in the car wash cave, I blast the radio as loud as I can. I think this is somehow supposed to comfort me.

It doesn’t, but planning what I will say to the news reporters who will interview me after my harrowing experience does distract me until the rinse cycle begins.

Around this time I can breathe a little easier, although now giant dryers threaten to suck me into the car wash cave vortex. But  I literally see the light at the end of the tunnel and finally exhale a bit.

I wait for the blinking red light to turn green so I can perfectly plan the switch from neutral to drive as the track shoves me off. Approximately 2.4 seconds after leaving the car wash cave, I roll down my window and adjust the mirror, with the sight of my car’s clean exterior making the $5 spent all worth while.

Until I get stuck behind a car kicking up slush at my windshield.

Oh well. It was nice while it lasted. 

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Brush It Off

For many people who live in a state that experiences winter—and I don’t mean 50 degrees one day out of the year, California friends—snow is inevitable.

That means that for those of us who don’t keep their vehicle in a covered garage because the weirdos that built their house 60 years ago failed to equip the garage door with the tools to be automatic, scraping the ice and snow off said vehicle is pretty much a regular thing.

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It’s also almost a science.

I have a remote car starter that I can activate from the warmth of my house, but it’s an automatic car starter—not an automatic “scrape all the crap off your entire snow-covered vehicle including the roof and the back end”-type thing.

There’s still quite a bit of work to be done.

  • Hit the starter so the defroster can begin its work.
  • Dress as warmly as possible with coat, hat and gloves. Take off my gloves when I remember I can’t tie my boots with big gloves on.
  • Gloves off, I tie my boots and make sure to tuck my pants into my socks so I don’t a) lose my sock when I take off my boots and b) get snow stuck in my boot.
  • Put gloves back on. Struggle to unlock and open the door.
  • Take gloves off, open door, head outside and put gloves back on.
  • Get distracted and shovel the walkway.
  • Grab snow brush out of my car.
  • Brush the burst of snow off the driver’s seat that falls in upon opening the door. Every. Single. Time.
  • Start with brushing the snow off the roof.
  • Curse the wind that is blowing the snow directly back into my face and continue to brush what I can reach, leaving an icy unreachable island in the middle of the roof.
  • Move on to the side and back windows. Feel proud that I remembered to brush off the lights and my license plate, both caked with ice.
  • Prepare plan of attack for the windshield. Sometimes there’s only a dusting of ice that the defroster can tackle alone. However, some mornings the ice is so thick that I need the strength of a roided up rhino to scrap that stuff off.
  • While strategizing, a large gust of wind will blow through.
  • Notice that half of the snow from the hood of my car is now lodged between my sock and my boot.
  • Wonder why I’m living in such a frigid climate, how the bastard groundhog keeps his job and yell at the garage as it mocks me.
  • Take rage out on scraping off ice.
  • Scrape, scrape, scrape…still scraping.
  • Lift up frozen windshield wipers.
  • Scrape, curse, scrape, curse, scrape…still scraping, still cursing.
  • Realize the defroster is starting to kick in and actually helping me out.
  • Quit cursing.
  • Get hit in the face with the snow from the roof that I couldn’t reach with the brush.
  • Resume cursing.
  • Decide it’s “clean enough” and walk back towards the house.
  • Shovel the walkway again before struggling to unlock and open the door.
  • Take gloves off, open door, head inside and take off boots.
  • Build small igloo out of snow that’s removed from my boot.
  • Show cat small igloo made from snow that’s removed from my boot.
  • Clean up bloody scratches on my arms from less-than-thrilled cat.
  • Decide it’s not worth leaving home.
  • Turn off car.
  • Make tea.
  • Spike tea.
  • Count down the days until spring.

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