I have this love/hate relationship with automatic car washes.
I like a clean car. I want to use those soft touch kind and I do but I cannot seem to get through one without a disaster.
Years ago, I learned the hard way I can’t go to the kind with that little skinny track you are supposed to guide your wheel into. Even if you hit your mark, it makes this sickening scraping sound which I assume is my tire being shredded into ribbons of rubber. I may or may not have lost a hubcap or two — I didn’t look back!
Another time and a different car wash I managed to enter the overly long numeric code and advance toward the building. Then, nothing! No lights, no sign saying to keep the car in neutral or move ahead on the conveyor belt.
I sat there in my dry, dirty car praying for some water, some soap — something. Nothing but the sound of my beating heart and shallow breathing.
Minutes passed slowly.
Embarrassed, I just drove right out the other end in my still filthy car.
I didn’t make eye contact with anyone.
I couldn't get home fast enough.
Eight dollars wasted.
The latest incident (I am nothing if not persistent) came at yet another car wash. It is best to never return to the scene of the embarrassment. This time, I drove up, entered the code and made it just barely into the car wash before water and soap started spraying.
I fumbled to get my driver's side window up but nothing happened. I hit the power buttons again. Nothing. I panic. I think it would be smart to back up and out but then I was afraid the door would come crashing down on the car so I went forward again.
To be honest, I am not sure if I was hitting the back window button or the lock button but nothing was responding. By now my dash is wet and my hair is damp.
Finally, the window goes up.
At this moment, I can’t see the traffic lights that say "Go ahead" or "Stop" because the inside windshield is all fogged up and my glasses are all sudsy!
I can vaguely hear an alarm and a woman’s voice saying something ominous.
I couldn’t quite make it out now that the windows were closed tight! Was she screaming “Evacuate”? “Danger, Will Robinson?”“Idiot”? (I am guessing the last one)!
Finally, the disembodied voice stopped, the car is moving, the giant brushes are sweeping over the vehicle and all seems well.
I didn't wait for the full blow dry. The door opened and dripping wet, I hit the gas and headed for home just grateful that I hadn’t asked for hot wax!
Although — I could save a trip to the spa!