July 21, 2009

Going Through the Car Wash

One thing you just grow to expect as your automobile ages is that things tend to break down, and those things don't, as a rule, take into consideration whether it's convenient for you. Tires can blow out when you're already running late; the horn can inexplicably become locked, blaring your impending arrival throughout town; and just generally things don't go "clunk" when you're conveniently in your driveway.

My '96 Cadillac Eldorado now has nearly 130,000 miles on it, and it's definitely showing its age. Rust now peaks out from both doors, paint is missing from the front bumper and the leather seats are cracked and beaten.

Also, the electric windows aren't all that reliable. While it's not a chronic problem, every once in awhile the driver's side window just won't respond to my clicking commands. It's mostly more of an annoyance than anything else.

Well, tonight, I had my oil changed and, as part of the oil change price, I received a free car wash. It's one of those car washes with the big rotating fabric drums that go back and forth, sloshing the vehicle until it's about 30 percent clean.

I took my free wash code, opened my window, entered the information into the touch screen kiosk outside of the wash, and was beckoned forward by the electronic system. Once inside, I parked my car as ordered and went to close my window.

Which. . .

By gosh, if that window didn't choose that exact moment to say "to heck with you and your demands." There I was, encapsulated within a glass house of impending car wash violence, unable to go forward or reverse, since the car wash doors close upon entering the facility and will not re-open until the wash cycle is complete.

It was, quite frankly, one of my most helpless experiences in recent memory. I thought briefly about panicking, but really, what good was that going to do me? The wash cycle commenced, and I was immediately sprayed down with quite possibly the coldest water imaginable outside of a mountain stream.

I refused to give up hope on the window. Again and again I pushed the button, and occasionally the window would respond by inching back up ever so slightly, but not nearly enough to save me from the violent buffeting of water-logged fabric containing the combined filth of hundreds, if not thousands, of previous vehicle washes. The inside of my vehicle was getting every bit as much water on the inside as the outside, and I was the unfortunate buffer stuck in the middle of it all.

Water squirted into my ear, and I scrambled to find something in the backseat that could block at least some of the car wash assault. I located a stocking cap under the passenger-side seat and held it up to my face in a pathetic attempt to keep soapy water from striking my eyes.

Frantically, I realized the final wax cycle was about to begin. I uttered a silent prayer to the bankrupt gods of General Motors and pushed the window button one last time. The window, apparently deciding it had enjoyed its little joke enough, mercifully closed just as the wax was about to spray directly into my nose.

I tried to take away some sort of lesson from the whole damp experience, but the only thing that came to mind was: "next time, close your window BEFORE you enter the car wash, moron."

Posted by Ryan at July 21, 2009 05:19 PM | TrackBack

Thanks for the laugh. Hey, if you were on your way home from jiu jitsu then you could have killed two birds with one soapy stone.

When we bought our Jetta, it came with manual windows and I was bummed about that, now I'm not so bummed.

Posted by: Erik at July 24, 2009 01:40 PM

Yes, the fact that that is what you drive is funny, but I lost it when it sprayed in your ear.....lol.
And then I wondered, is that how he gets his head so shiny? Drive by waxing....?
He he!

Posted by: Donna at July 24, 2009 07:06 PM
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