Ponder this:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I wash my car twice a year, maybe three times, whether or not it needs it.

I live on a dirt road.
In three seasons it is, more or less, mud, and in the fourth season it is dust. It is altogether a thankless and unrewarding task to wash the car.
Yesterday I set out at eleven o'clock in the morning, thrilling to the sun sparkles on the snow. The dirt road was frozen and  preceding drivers' tires had worn down and evaporated the slush and snow on the surfaced roads so they appeared to be mostly dry. It struck me as a Car Washing Day.
I had ten quarters, two more than the DIY car wash requires to start the pressure washer. I turned down the little village lane to the car wash. Two of the four bay doors were open and both occupied and another driver and I waited for a free spot. After ten minutes or so, a bright clean blue minivan reversed out of one of the bays, and I moved to the head of the line that grew behind me.
A little silver car pulled in to the parking lot and drove right up to one of the closed bays. The driver got out and threw up the overhead door. "How enterprising," I thought. "Why didn't one of us think to do that?"
But he didn't go in; he moved on to the change machine.
The man in the car behind me got out and I watched him ask if the silver car man would be using that bay. He turned around and addressed me in pantomime: Go ahead and use that one.
I mimed back, "That guy isn't going to use it?"
He shrugged and threw his thumb over his shoulder.
I shrugged, tipped my head and flipped my eyebrows and drove into the newly opened bay.
The silver car man must have been the proprietor.

After you clean your car, you drive carefully. You stay far away from those dirty cars that pass you inviting you to eat their dust. You avoid puddles. You go on your way, to the library, to the supermarket. You get back home and the car looks just like it did when you left the house.
It's new dirt.
I guess that's an improvement.


Freda said...

And the never-ending salt that gets all over the car in the winter. Our car gets done about the same amount as yours and we only have a very short dirt track.

Barb said...

Ah - yes - the pleasure of a bathed car. It's impossible here in the mountains - ours is always dirty (esp. in the winter). For one thing, it's too cold to wash and for another it would be slushed immediately.

#1Nana said...

One of the few things we did right when we bought our current house was buy one on the pavement. The pavement ends a few yards past our paved driveway. It makes all the difference both in how much dirt the car accumulates, and in the dust in the house. Who knew that pavement was so important?

fiftyodd said...

I am sorry for you guys - at least in Cape Town, we don't even approach freezing temperatures - but we do have constant wind. I don't wash my car much either, or the windows in my house come to think. Cleaning anything is a joke - people don't notice what you have cleaned and the minute you have, the elements defeat you again. Don't feel guilty.

Auto Loans said...

Since my place was dusty and muddy during rainy season, I keep on returning into car wash shop. That's why, sometimes my car scratches,

Erwin Calverley said...

Yeah, that’s an effective way to keep your car clean just after washing it: drive safely! Mostly, mud and other stains are gained because of one’s very own driving habits – high acceleration, driving onto shallow holes. Drive slowly, and you can better avoid dirtying up your car.

Unknown said...

Erwin is right. Driving safely will indeed keep your car from accumulating that much dirt. It will also have a good effect on the car’s engine and other parts, since smooth and careful driving can better preserve the quality and integrity of the car's parts, thus lengthening the car's service life.

Darius Martinez