I have always had this aversion to automatic car washes. For some reason when I try to drive my car into one, my heart starts pounding, I panic that outside car parts are going to be torn off and it is going to be totally my fault when the entire car wash breaks down.
If someone else drives my car through the car wash I am fine. I realize that the problem is internally mine.
I had a favorite car wash in Las Vegas. I would drive my car up about every two weeks or so. I would order the “Double Dip Wax and Shine with interior clean,” exit my vehicle and meander inside to read the dirty cards that were displayed for purchase. Someone from the car wash would then drive my car to each area, they would do their thing and then would deliver a clean, jasmine scented vehicle to me in about 15 minutes.
On Saturday I went with my husband to drop his car off for detailing. They also had a car wash. So I told my husband that I would have my car run through their automatic car wash while he finished dropping off his car (and giving them the message that IF SO MUCH AS A SCRATCH IS ON THIS CAR WHEN HE PICKS IT UP…)
So I pulled up and asked for the #3 Wash and Shine.
“Okay, go ahead and pull it up to the entrance” the car wash guy said.
And my head instantly panicked with “What?? I have to drive myself through this? What?”
So with knuckle white hands on the steering wheel, I dutifully followed the hand gestures of the car wash guy as he motioned me forward, forward, forward, STOP!
“Put the car in neutral and don’t touch the steering wheel” he said.
And off my car went. As my heart rate increased to over 100 BPM, I was careful to triple check that my car was in neutral and I sat on my hands to make sure I would not touch the steering wheel. I didn’t have a good feeling about this at all.
And then of course it happened.
Out comes the manager.
“SHUT ‘ER DOWN! SHUT ‘ER DOWN!” he yells.
By now I see my waiting husband frantically trying to call me on his cell phone.
The car wash guy comes up to me and asks if my car was in neutral and if I had touched the steering wheel. Quick to take absolutely no blame for this now bad car wash incident, I took the time to tell him that I should not have been asked to drive my car in; that I knew this was going to turn out badly. He had me turn my steering wheel to the left and double checked that it was in neutral and they turned the car wash back on. Of course not before I rolled up my window so I got a parting gift of soapy blue felt strip on my face.
Once I was finally out of the car wash, the manager told me I had to go back through it again. Like that was going to happen. My husband told me that if my car had jumped the car wash curb, he was going to leave and pretend not to know me.
My car wash guy was so sweet about the whole thing and assured me that next time I came, he would be more than happy to drive my car through for me – all I had to do was ask.
So I tipped him $10 bucks. Especially because he didn’t bitch about all the crap I had in the backseat that he had to vacuum around. And my car still smelled like Jasmine.