Along the Trail: Carwash 2
After I read my own words, I decided it was time to slay the anxiety dragon and just do it: go to the carwash and get it done. I mean we are not talking open heart surgery here, just a car wash. So I waited until it was late in the day thus maximizing the likelihood that there would be no one around in case a mad cap adventure occurred. I had planned to just saunter into the carwash and read the instructions to ensure a successful result.
Just as I entered the slippery carwash, a woman sped up and drove straight into the bay. I kind of backed off, still trying to read what was hanging on the wall. As it turned out, the instructions were minimal, at best, not giving any idea how much to put in or what steps followed. No problem, I reasoned, this lady will be my pathfinder.
The stranger grabbed the hose then started to drop coins in the provided slot. More coins and more coins, but no water. Nothing was happening. She was pouring coin like an addict at the casino. She turned to me with panicked eyes and said “how much does this cost?” Ah ha, I thought, someone else has hit a wall trying to get it done. “Not sure”, I said, as I quietly exited the soapy bay.
This was too similar to my adventure in Florida to allow me to slay the dragon.
Years ago, my daughter and I decided to wash the car after the long drive from Nova Scotia to Florida. We drove up the A1A highway and pulled into a car wash we had spotted on the way down. I poured in all the American coin I had and she and I began the process of rinsing, then soaping down the car. There was a quiet attendant sitting on a chair nearby. Just as the car reached maximum soap coverage, everything stopped. No problem. The guy was right there to make change for me. “Excuse me,” I said, in my best Nova Scotia accent, “can I get some change for the machine?”
“Buenos Dias, senor,” he replied.
“Yes, Buenos Dias, can I get some coin here?” “Si senor, Buenos Dias.” Oh, oh, this is not going well. It’s midday in Florida, sunny and about 30 degrees Celsius. The soap is beginning to dry on the hot car and the introductory Spanish lesson has not progressed. I have no idea where to turn. I am a stranger in a strange place and old Buenos Dias is no help whatsoever. My partner in crime is horrified, embarrassed beyond belief.
So I did the only sensible thing I could do: I panicked. I sped out of there, soap flying off in all directions. At least the soap that had not stuck in the heat.
We raced back to our chalet by the sea and begged the owner to lend me the hose. She obliged, and many hours later, the car was at least presentable enough to head back out on the highway. The next car wash took place in the backyard in Middle River weeks later. My soap, my hose, no coins, no one around. The exercise was good for me.