Riding Dirty

It is no secret in my circle of friends that I hate driving. I use my car purely for escaping the city and, during the summer, when the heat threatens to spoil any milk I might carry home from the grocery store.

I walk everywhere. In fact, I meet attractive females in cycling class who tell me they see me “always walking on [insert my street name]” as if I’m some side(walk) show freak. Last fall my car got towed during street cleaning because I forgot I had it parked there. Last winter it snowed twice in the course of ten days, and I fully expected my car to die because I didn’t drive it in between.

When I do drive, most probably prefer I wouldn’t. I’m not a bad driver; I’m just spastic. I tend to not see WRONG WAY signs, and I contemplate turning left on red (??) until my passenger says, “You can’t do that.” Also, my acceleration is all over the place. Several of my friends prefer the backseat to avoid nausea. So it works out that I don’t enjoy driving.

Consequently, you shouldn’t expect I care what my ride looks like. It’s my parents’ old Camry; I remember when they bought it Memorial Day Weekend 2001. I guess they were moved by the holiday because they got it in white, and that brings us to today’s story.

Obviously white shows everything. When I moved to the city last year, I quickly had a charcoal car. Then one day I came out to find my car encased in sap. My door actually crack!’d when I managed to unseal it. Thankfully, I found a car wash where they said they could purge it for $7.

That was last October. I haven’t had my Camry cleaned since save for a March afternoon where it needed a little touchup, but at my current place I don’t have access to a hose or know of a place where they let you self-wash, so I hauled six buckets of water between the bathtub and the street. *wipes sweat from brow*

I decided this fall that I would wait for all the leaves and sap to come down before I washed the Camry again. Practical, right? (You’re probably thinking cheap, too.) Well, yesterday, my friends convinced me otherwise when we get in my car (I hadn’t driven it for a week and a half), and there’s a spider web growing on the side view mirror and the roof of the car – let’s just say my friend exhaled, “That’s disgusting.”

driving dirty

To the $7 car wash we go. Well, there were other deals that weren’t $7, and the attendant informed me my car would need more than the super package. So I paid $14 for the deluxe package. We go down the human and machine assembly line where we meet the tire shiners (part of the deluxe package, because do you really think I cared about spotless tires?) who promptly say, “You need to go through again.”

Excuse me? I have to go through the car wash a second time? I should be embarrassed, but I’m just amused. As is the original attendant who remarks, “Let’s try this again.”

Arriving at the tire shiners again, I roll down my window. “Did it work?” I ask.

The man looks at my car with a smirk. “It’s okay.”

What do you mean, sir? So they dry off my car, I tip them $5 (because they did let me go through twice), and I drive to my destination where I step out only to discover my car looks like vanilla bean ice cream – except with black streaks instead of specks - and I can’t even get them off with spit, and what is life? I spent $19 for nothing. So then I drove home – behind an open bed truck full of dirt and dust. Whatever.