Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Car Wash

Inspired by a post about a carwash from Jerk's blog, I give you my car wash story....

Apparently, when I was but a very young girl, my sister, Mom and I got stuck in a car wash. Not only were we trapped, but we were trapped during a perpetual hot wax cycle.

Somehow the apparatus got stuck. And, I believe it was an unattended car wash. Which left us sitting in an increasingly humid and sticky environment for a very, very long time.

I remember only fragments of this. I remember the smell of the hot wax and the feeling of discomfort. But really nothing else. It is all stored somewhere deep, deep in my subconscious mind. I am sure of this because the panic was revisited years later- in another car wash - over 700 miles away....

I was working at a finance company and driving a long commute every day. Since it rains copiously here, a car can get quite grimy very quickly. So, one day at lunch I thought that I would run it through the car wash to take advantage of the sunny day and the possibility of the car staying clean for an entire 24 hours.

It was not a "brushless" carwash. It was the old school kind with a huge rotating brush thing that went up and over your car, keeping time with corresponding spinning brushes on each side. The top scrubber had very long, soft cloth pieces that whirled with amazing speed, slapping the car with soap and/or wax at appropriate intervals. I was not worried that the finish of my car would be ruined by these brushes because, well, it was a 1992 Ford Escort hatchback.... and that's all I have to say about that.

Everything was progressing as expected until I heard something....catch. It is hard to describe..but for a split second the motor of the overhead rotating brush seemed strained. Then, I shudder to even think of it now, the car seemed to jump a little bit, and then the entire apparatus smashed into the roof of my car with a huge thud. Huge!

The engine of the brush started to whine at a higher and higher pitch and the roof of the car actually started to cave in above my head. It wasn't bending the frame yet, but I seemed as it it would.

When I get really scared I turn into a girl. It's embarrassing to tell it, but I started screaming and kind of bouncing in my seat with my hands fluttering in front of my face. What the hell kind of reaction is that? Definitely not something that will save me in a life threatening situation, if you know what I mean.

Eventually, I came to my senses enough to make the decision that I should start the car, put it in gear and try to drive my sorry ass out of there as quickly as possible. As the clutch released and the car was trying to free itself from under the scrub brush of death, the obvious offender was discovered. The antennae, which had been sticking out of the roof by only about 1 inch had been caught in the brush bristle things, it pulled out of it's sheath and released the brush from it's position on the roof of my car.

It was a great moment, that feeling of freedom from compaction. But then the scrub brush started to spin again. Thwacking my car at regular intervals with the now freed - and incredibly long - antennae. (Do you have any idea how long car antennas are?)

Thwack. Thwack. Thwack. Thwack. Thwack.

When I pulled free from the car wash I was shaking like a leaf. I jumped out of the car and watched my antennae continue to spin on the brush until the cycle completed. My car, down the entire length on the right hand side, had long scratches from the repeated thwacking. I popped the roof dents out relatively easily from the inside, and shakily went back to work. Never to tell anyone this story, until now.

(I personally think the girlish panic mode I went into was in direct correlation to the car wash incident of my youth. I cannot be blamed for my reaction. It was post traumatic stress disorder.)


At 11:53 AM, Blogger anika said...

That's so scary! And I'm sorry for laughing at your screaming-and-bouncing-in-your-seat-with-your-hands-fluttering-in-front-of-your-face reaction, but it really is a funny picture in my mind.

Yes it is.

At 2:33 PM, Blogger Squishi said...


Oh I'm so sorry, I know you must have been scared to death (almost) but that is one of the funniest written stories I've read in a while.

You got me out of my perpetual slumber at any rate ;)

At 8:18 PM, Anonymous Car Wash said...

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