filthy similarities…

When you live in the suburbs, it is essential to have a car. When you have children and you live in the suburbs, you might spend half your day in the car. At some point in life you transition from being the mommy to the chauffeur. Sure, they appreciate the ride, especially when they get to where they want to be, but don’t expect a tip, or even a thanks. The only hat you are wearing is that chauffeur’s cap when kids need to be somewhere.

My feelings on a car?

It is to get you from point A to point B. That’s it. A means of transportation. I let the kids in the car. They eat. They spill. They leave their garbage in the car. I let the dogs in the car. They are muddy. They are wet. Sometimes they even throw up.

It’s a car. I am not entertaining in my car.

Maybe this is a woman’s point of view, or maybe I am just a slob when it comes to my car? Don’t get me wrong, every now and then I take time and I do clean my car, and when I do, it is a pretty site. I have been known to do my own version of detailing; taking q-tips to the cracks around my console, dusting and spritzing fluids of car stuff that not only clean but that make the car smell pretty. So what if it is perfume?

I like a clean car, I appreciate it, but I realize it is like Christmas, it might only come once a year.

As for the outside…it rains.

I will admit cars get ugly in the winter, and frankly, it is depressing to see salt covered vehicles. It is just a reminder of how long, how cold, how miserable winter can be.

Men obviously view clean cars in a totally different way. Any man reading this might be cringing at the thought of a filthy car. You might all be running out to wash your cars as soon as you have read this, hoping not only to rid the filth from your car, but to rid yourself of the dirty image of my car.

I will never understand the way a man’s brain works. Quite frankly, I don’t want to understand. I have enough problems of my own. Yet, today I am giggling at a memory and the present. I giggle at the irony, and the likeness of the two men that have existed in my life.

My father.

When I was a kid we always had to leave early to get to any function. Be it a birthday dinner, a party, a funeral, sometimes even just going to a friend’s house, we left early. Not so that we could get there on time, not because my father was an anxious socialite, well he was, but not for those reasons. We had to leave early so that my father could get the car washed. We could never arrive anywhere with a filthy car.

I remember how he had a company account with the car wash. All I had to do was pull up to the car wash, get out, and I could walk along a walk way separating me and the car while it went through the car wash. I think I took the car to be washed pretty often in those days knowing that a filthy car would mean no car for me to drive.

It probably explains my love of going through car washes as a kid. I can remember sitting in the back seat thinking it was like an episode of Sesame Street. All the big, colorful, fluffy monsters. I think the best was watching the little drops of water as the industrial dryer blew them off the car, as though they were clinging on for dear life.

Which brings me to the other man in my life, my hubby.

Always, always, always, we have to have a clean car. Sometimes he will stand in the dining room looking out at the car in the driveway and mournfully shake his head without saying a word. You should see the side way glances he gives the dirty car, the longing he has sometimes when he drives past a car wash. We are usually running late for some event, driving on the road, when he will pull over and get the car washed. It’s nice to see his grinning pleasure sitting in line for the car wash, rather than the usual disgusted horror on his face when he gets in my car on most days.

Ah, if only the two of them could have met. They could have enjoyed a brew while riding through the car wash.

Hubby called me today wanting to know what I was doing on my unemployed Friday. Much the same as I was doing on the other unemployed days, a little of this, a little of that. Wearing my unemployment hat with flair.

Well, then…could I take the car to the car wash? He had been earlier today with his car and the lines were not that bad, it would be good for the car. Sure, why not, give me something to do, as he put it.

So, I am the sixth car in line at the drive thru car wash and I am realizing that I have never been in the driver’s seat going through a car wash alone. I am quite surprised at this revelation and a little giddy at this new experience.

Maybe I am too much like a kid, and sometimes the simplest things amuse me, or maybe, lately, I reminisce and find a story of the then and now, and I begin to relate or understand. Just maybe this independent voyage to the car wash will change me and I will incorporate it into my daily routine?

If I did, I could make an old guy in heaven happy and a younger guy feeling like he is no longer living in filthy car hell.

I tip my car washing hat to you fine lads.

“At the car wash, woooh
Talking about the car wash, yeah
Come on y’all and sing it for me
Car wash, woh, car wash yeah”

You bet I was singing that today as the monsters cleaned my car.

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