photo by Sheri Dixon

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Death of a Car Wash

 I've been using the same car wash for about 20 years. 

It's old and shabby and looks like the brushes may be made of needles and the soap may be acid, and I honestly can't even tell you the name of the place because those painted letters on the front of the building curled up and died at least ten years ago but ya'll, when you first drive up there are 2 guys who do the pre-entry scrubbing of bugs off the front bumper and backs of the side mirrors and inside the tire wells. There's a tip bucket hanging at the front of the line with a rock at the bottom to keep the bills from flying out. The vacuums only work part of the time, but it's close to work and the same guys have been working there the entire time I've been using it.

I wash my car once a week so they know me. Like. They know me.

They razz me because I can't reach the tip bucket and make T-rex arm motions when they come to take my $2.00 and they thank me for the tip.

They comment when I get a new car and say how much they like it.

They compliment me on every hair color change.

They give me shit when there's mud all on the car and I apologize for living in the country.

At Christmas I tip them $20 and every few months they tell me they upgraded my wash to Premium because I'm one of their favorite customers.

At the beginning of the pandemic, they told me to be careful and I told them the same.

When my Jack Ball came off of my antenna in the car wash, the Jack Ball that had traveled over 10,000 miles bravely grinning into the wind until its smile wore off, they turned off the machines and walked the wash and found him.

A few times a year, the car wash closes down because shit breaks and they wait for a part, so I didn't worry too much when it shut down a few weeks ago.

But it's not open yet and there are construction vehicles there tearing out the vacuum stalls. When the big door is open, you can see all the brushes on the floor like a gigantic pile of dead daddy long leggers swept into the corner of the porch. 

It's become clear that my car wash is defunct.

Now, there's a new car wash about five minutes up the road from the old one. It's a super-fancy see thru tunnel and I hate it. 

But I promised Bitsy (the car) (shut up) that I would wash her every week, since she used to live in Plano and now lives in the forest like a barbarian, so it's really the least I can do. 

The new car wash has a mobile app and a monthly subscription and any of their locations will computer-recognize your license plate and just open the gates even if you wash your car every five minutes for a monthly fee of $36. I was spending $12 plus a $2 cash tip every week at the old car wash so...yay?

I downloaded the app and yesterday, I drove up to the gate of the new car wash. It magically opened and I drove in. There are no guys with brushes, no tip bucket with a rock in the bottom to keep the bills from flying out, just a sign with the written instructions that are in every car wash: Drive onto track. Put car into neutral. Sit back and relax.

So, I did that. Drove onto the track and put the car into neutral. I was just starting to relax when I heard yelling next to the car and turned to see an angry man hollering, "DO YOU HAVE IT IN NEUTRAL???" I pointed at my gear shift clearly in neutral and he grunted and slapped blue tape over my back windshield wiper.

Why no, grumpy man. I'm in a hurry, so I thought I'd just run thru the car wash doing about 80.


There's a man who would *never* have retrieved a road-worn Jack Ball.

And there are still bugs on the front bumper and backs of the side mirrors.

No comments:

Post a Comment