This one goes out to all the men in my life: I have officially gone all the way with my car.
“Ah,” you might say with a smile, as you lean backwards in your chair, hook a thumb in your belt loop, and nod your head in knowing appreciation.
Yes, that’s right. I washed her!
I currently drive a 2006 dark blue Chevy Malibu. I love her. She is a sound, reliable car and from time to time, I throw her a treat: an oil change, an upgrade in gasoline when I can afford it, a new air freshener to cover up what the children have neglected to remove from her interior.
She is my fourth car. The first, a 1981 powder blue Buick Regal. The second, a 90s model dark bluePontiac6000 LE. The third, a burgundy van. I cannot remember her make, model or year, but I do remember we named her Rosie. I also remember she sort of blew up. Maybe it was the name …
I didn’t really lavish attention on any of them. But with this car, I have taken more of a hands-on approach. I have actively participated in that mystical vehicular connection. And I have survived despite my lack of testosterone.
I bought a bottle of pretty aquamarine blue car wash. It had shiny gold carnuba wax beads in it. It smelled good.
I bought two micro fiber wash cloths. They were turquoise in color and closely matched the blue of the car wash liquid.
And I bought a chamois. (This was a splurge item since I have plenty of old towels I can dry her with. I just like to say it out loud. Chamois. Chamois. Try it. It’s fun. It’s one of those words that break the rules because it isn’t spelled anything like the way it sounds. Yes, I am a rebel at heart, I guess.)
I bought a bright yellow garden hose and a spray nozzle attachment.
After all, if I was going to go all the way, I was going to do it right.
Yet, no matter how much I purchased, or how well I color-coordinated my car wash items, the car wasn’t going to wash herself.
I filled my bucket, soaked my beautiful blue cloths, and stared at the car for a full five minutes.
This was going to require some sort of strategy.
Should I wash her from grill to trunk, from rooftop to wheel well, or from back to front?
I resisted the urge to call my Dad. I was nearly forty, a college-educated woman, for goodness sake! I just knew I could figure it out.
I thought of my children and about how fearful I was to administer first baths. That wasn’t like washing baby dolls in the sink; after all, real babies scream. (And, I have learned, they don’t stop screaming just because they can make intelligible sounds that resemble grown-up talk).
But that’s when it hit me. I’ll wash from clean to dirty, just like I washed the children.
I could be methodical about it and get the job done. Windshield, roof, hood, sides, trunk, tires. Easy cheesy.
After three sections and two buckets of warm, sudsy car wash, I was ready for a nap – in a tub full of Ben Gay. At that moment, I would have gladly shelled out the twelve bucks at the automatic car wash.
However, I am not a quitter. I dutifully finished my car. And I learned some important lessons.
First, no matter what you wear, you will never look like those fancy models in bikini tops and Daisy Dukes who have glorious locks and golden skin. Trust me, those commercials and print ads are not accurate.
Second, it is very important to make sure that the children closed their doors completely before you spray your vehicle down with water.
Third, remembering the headlight-blinded opossum you accidentally killed two weeks ago on that little country road does not help you to scrape the hardened and fur-studded gob off the lower left portion of your grill.
Fourth, pressing hard on certain portions of the car – the hood, the roof, side panels – will not boost your confidence in vehicle safety standards. In fact, it will only remind you that most of what you think is protecting you is not made of metal at all.
Fifth, using canola oil from the kitchen does not shine your tires the way you at first thought it would. On the up side, no dog will lift their leg to your tires because they will be too busy licking said tires.
Sixth, no matter how much you yearn for a nap afterwards, you may not take one. Instead, you must set up camp, complete with a camouflage screen and pellet gun. You must defend your freshly washed car from every bird in a fifteen mile radius.
And now that I have gone all the way, I should probably name her.
Oh, wait. I think I already learned that induces explosions.
Maybe next time …