At the Carwash

The pollen is horrendous right now. If you sneeze, a puff of yellow will gather at your breath and settle on the ground in a circle in front of you. There are little circle-letts of yellow all over our carport reminding us that we are in the yellow-yuck season of life here in North Florida, and there is no escaping it as it will be on your clothes, your cars, your driveway, your furniture, and yes, in your lungs.

My new “Hypersonic Red” Prius was getting a coating of yellow that was turning the red beauty into more of an orange-red hue. So, finally, I decided I would spend the eight bucks to run it through the car wash. We have the kind that is completely brushless, so I feel pretty safe taking my new ruby-colored jewel through there.

We are a small town, and there aren’t a lot of options for things like drycleaners, shoe repair shops, or car washes. Sometimes when I go, there it is a line of cars patiently waiting their turn to get the grime of road-life sprayed off.

This morning I drove by, and there was a really long line. I was trying to keep things moving in my errands-run, so the car wash would have to wait.

I went back later in the afternoon, and bingo, there was only one car in the queue. I pulled up slowly behind the pretty car. I think it was a Honda, but hey, they all look alike to me. It was a rich, dark maroon color. Kind of sporty, you might say. When it was at the payment machine, it seemed to take a while to get that all done, but finish it did, and pulled on through up to the bay entrance.

You know, it was funny, I couldn’t see the driver. I knew there was one in there, the car was moving.  But I couldn’t see a head above the headrest. Anyway, the car pulled into the bay and the car wash started. I sat there and studied the movements of the machine. It truly does fascinate me. How do those brushes know to scrub the tire and not miss? When that arm comes down with spraying water, it never bangs into the car, regardless of what size it is. It just mesmerizes me.

Well, that cycle for the pretty four-door maroon car finished and the car slowly, carefully pulled out. I had already put in my money, and was waiting for the “Pull Forward” light to blink. When I got the signal, I focused on pulling in slowly to give the undercarriage spray time to tickle my Prius’ tummy. Then I settled her down into that perfect sweet spot where the lights come on and say, “Stop!” you’ve gone far enough.

So while the “pre-wash” liquid slid down my windshield, I was catching up on messages on my phone. When I looked up, I saw that the pretty maroon car had not left. After it had pulled out of the bay, it pulled forward a bit and then slowly backed up to the edge of the pavement out of the way of cars that might be coming and going.

From my position, my ability to see was intermittent as the different bubbles and sprays clouded my windshield. But I was curious as to what was going on, so I kept peeking through the foam to see what I could see. Slowly the car door opened, and then I couldn’t see again. As the spray cleared my windshield, I then saw a man getting out of his car. Though it appeared that he could stand on his thin, bent legs, it surely looked to be very hard for him to do.  He held on to the car and started a slow shuffling of his feet over toward the back of the car.  Now the multi-colored bubbles were on my windshield, and I couldn’t see for a while.

Things cleared up again, and there he was leaning on a walker, the kind that you can walk with or even sit down on. The trunk lid was open so I guess that was where he had it stowed.   He had a chamois cloth in his hand and with a focus only men have for a ritual like this, he was wiping off the drops of water that were left on his car. With strong arms and a set jaw, he pulled his legs along inch by inch, leaning on that walker, going over every drop that clung to his car, wiping it down to a dry shine.

I looked down at the grass on the floor of my car that I had not vacuumed out yet, and boy did it need it. Truth be told, deep down inside, I had no intention of doing it, because, well you know, it is so much work.

Hats off to you, man with the cool car.  Nothing was going to stop you from keeping those pesky water-marks off your beauty. I bet you don’t let much stop you in many areas of your life.

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