Car Wash

My son has been home from college a few times this year but we hadn’t been up to see him at all.  So when he sent me a picture of cows thinking his car is a Tic Tac, I thought we better take a trip to do a welfare check on him. We set out early on a Saturday morning to go see him and found out on our way that he needed to be at a rodeo about an hour and a half from campus that night. Since he said his clutch was giving him “a little trouble”, I told him he could take my car once we got there.  We arrived later than we planned because we spent 3 extra hours crawling up the coast of California making our filthy lying Google maps estimate of a 5 ½ hour trip into 8 ½ hours. I have no love lost on the 405, I can tell you that. He was close to being late for the rodeo, so when we got there he kissed me on the cheek, threw his keys at me, yelled over his shoulder not to judge him, and sped off in my shiny new SUV.  Judge him? I turned to find his car and took a minute to locate it.  All I saw was a filthy little maybe white car that couldn’t possibly be his.  I walked closer and yep it was his. That’s what he meant.  Oh I judged him all right.  I opened the door and not only does his car resemble a roller skate, they both smell the same on the inside.  We bought him a tiny car since we know if it were any bigger he’d live in it and thought for sure he can’t mess it up too much since there’s nothing to it.  I get it since he works on two different ranches and rides bulls and living in an apartment keeps his gear in there, but seriously?  The entire car was full of mud with bugs on the grill from who knows how long that were now forever part of the paint. The picture of the cows was accurate.  There were lick marks on all of the windows and the entire windshield.  How in the heck did he even see out of it?  My Middle and I decided to take it straight to a car wash, then head over to my son’s apartment to check it out after. I had to go back a few years to remember how to drive a stick and quickly realized that “a little trouble” with the clutch meant that 1st gear was gone all together.  Not to be discouraged, we bumbled off in 2nd.  We hit the nearest gas station with a car wash and filled up his tank, which is about the size of a Gatorade, and selected the deluxe car wash.  When we came out of the car wash machine I got out to see how well it worked.  It didn’t.  I thought that maybe the car is so small that the machine only reached the top and the sides, which were only marginally cleaner, since the rollers never really touched the front or the back. I went in to ask the attendant if I could run it through again for free since it was still pretty gross.  He didn’t believe me that a car could be too small to get cleaned, but since he didn’t even bother getting off of his high stool behind the counter to look at the car, I wasn’t backing down.  Look Carl, I am stuck in a smelly car and can’t roll down the windows while it’s being washed.  I just drove 8 ½ hours to get here, through LA mind you, and I am hungry and I have to pee. That was all irrelevant at this point but I think it helped my case.  I could tell that he didn’t want to deal with me so he gave me another code to use for the car wash and swiveled away from me. It was all a waste of time and money since even the second run through the wash did absolutely nothing. We decided to take it to one of those self-wash places that was 2 miles away, which seems close but required a ride on the highway using only 2nd and 3rd gear.  We got there finally and pulled into a stall.  I put a dollar in the machine giving me one minute. I decided to spend that time first rinsing it down with water before adding foamy soap. I selected the high pressure water option and pulled the trigger.  The pressure was so hard it knocked me off my feet into a puddle and I shot water about 30 feet in the air.  What the heck?  I got up and realized that I couldn’t wash this tiny car with this thing, it will blow it down the street!  I told my Middle to get back in the car hoping that a little extra weight in it will stop the car from moving. At this point I only had about 40 seconds until I needed another dollar so I rushed around rinsing it down.  I kept putting dollars in the machine running around the car cleaning as fast as I could until $15 later when the car was clean and I was sweaty and exhausted.  My hair was at a new level of frizz, pushing my hair tie to the limit and my butt and leg were wet from falling on the ground.  We puttered out of the car wash stall and over to the vacuums.  We vacuumed for $5 worth and weren’t making any progress so I just threw away his floor mats, ordered new ones from Amazon right then and there and called it a day. You can’t win them all. Leaving the car wash, I drove the wrong way down a one-way street. I freaked out, stalled the car, pushed in the clutch to start it and tried ramming it into the non-existent 1st gear before I realized I needed to start out in 2nd. I didn’t think to turn the car around so I did all of this while jerking the car down the road the wrong way, begging Jesus to take the wheel, and passing a highway patrol car as we went.  I just turned to him, gave a small finger wave and shrugged.  I think he could tell by my hair what kind of day I was having and didn’t even mess with me. From there we went back to the hotel to shower and take a nap. I was done.  I had just spent almost as much money on washing my son’s car as I did buying it in the first place and I didn’t have the energy or mental capacity to see what a disaster his apartment was. That adventure was saved for the next day.

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