Monday, January 23, 2017

What A Washout

I knew it was going to be a rough day when I got out of bed to find I could barely get out of bed.

The ‘leg day’ of the previous day was repaying me in pain with no payoff of a positive kind just yet (what can one expect, I guess, having been to the gym but once in the past 2 years).
So I staggered into the bathroom, reminiscent of the floppy fish foot experience of 6 years ago (part of the reason for my lack of gym time), dragging my sorry self in for my morning ablutions.

I thought I was being clever utilising my time on the toot to rub some menthol based anti-inflammatory cream onto my aching extremities…only to be faced with the fact that I still had to, well, er conclude my business with at least one menthol-coated hand (I did have the forethought to use my left hand for the pain rub, leaving my right to wipe). But then I had the dilemma of pulling up my pj pants again, or walking like a cowboy to the shower in case I rubbed pain relief cream where it would in fact cause extreme pain…

Settling the matter with the latter, I entered the shower and whimpered as quietly as I could in case I woke my slumbering family (why are they always asleep at these crucial times I do not know).

Dried and dressed and ready to face the day I hit the highway for my early morning commute. As the sun hit the windscreen it dawned on me (literally and figuratively speaking) that the car didn’t get the bath it was supposed to over the weekend. The kids drive a hard bargain when it comes to chores and I was thinking of a less expensive choice.

Since I still had time, I decided to do what I’ve done on many an occasion, and zip through the 24-hour carwash down the road. It’s never busy at that time, and the distance of my drive to work ensures the duco gets a decent blow dry.

This time I wasn’t alone in my cunning plan, the car wash also doubles as a dog washing centre and there was a woman already there doing the shampooch thing.

Given that I didn’t have an exorbitant amount of time, or money, I chose the budget Express Wash.

Oh the irony.

At first the machine wouldn’t accept my shiny new note, and kept insisting on giving me change in return. On the third attempt, a coin made a break for it and rolled underneath my car, leaving me short.  So I reversed my car, got out and under the driver’s side to retrieve the errant dollar and try again.


Not so fast.

The word “Enter” lit up so I did as the sign said, and also came to a “Stop” when told to, albeit a little crookedly alongside the safety rail at the wheels.

The carwash bay doors swung inwards and shut in front (an important point to note), and the L-shaped washing bar of the machine swung into action. So far, so good.

After an initial rinse the machine proceeded to spray the soap all over my grotty little vehicle, then started the next rinse.  After a minute or so I realised that the right rear panel of my car must’ve been particularly dirty, or the thing was stuck.  Another minute or so of spraying in the same spot, I decided the thing was definitely stuck, but so was I. (I mean, who hasn’t seen those videos of people getting out of the car in the car wash and copping a washing of their own?!)

It was when the sign light went out altogether, and the spraying ceased to a half-hearted squirt I became concerned for my predicament.  It was 6.40am, I was seemingly stuck in a carwash, with only one other person around, and like the movie says: In space (or inside a car inside a carwash), no one can hear you scream.

Thank goodness for modern technology- present carwashing company excluded- I searched on my smartphone for the number on the off-chance that there was someone onsite (or even up) that ran the place.  Nope, voicemail, informing me of the staffed hours (from 10am!) and to leave a message about any issues with the equipment. I briefly informed them there were indeed equipment issues, where and when I was calling from, and think I ended with a frustrated “Dammit” before disconnecting. I did not leave my return number so am not expecting them to get back to me as promised.

Here I consider my options:
#1: Sit in the car until someone shows up (only 3 and a half hours later!)
#2: Give it another minute or so in case it starts up again (maybe I wasn’t the only one having trouble moving this morning).
#3: Get out of my car and see if I could in fact get my car out. The front way was a bust, the aforementioned inward-opening doors were not in my favour.

I gingerly opened my door and stretched out the back, giving the washer bar a prod to see if it would start moving again – ready to dive straight back into the car if that was the case (I’d already had my shower thankyouverymuch). It stayed stuck.

So I gauge the distance between my tyres and the safety rail down below, and the gap between my car and the bar at the back. I figured it was worth a shot in view of Option #1.

I put my window down, pull my mirror in, and put the car into Reverse. Boy those rails are close and tricky to navigate backwards! Happily I have a little SUV so I went slightly off road and onto the rails to ease her back. Next I summon my superhuman strength that seems to show in times of stress and physically push the machine out of the way so it doesn’t take off my mirror.

Both me and my car made it out in one piece, although half my car was covered in suds (the right rear panel mind you is absolutely gleaming!)  I see as I start to make my way out of the carwash centre that there was now another car lover in the bay next door now, using the one hose I could’ve commandeered to clean off the shampoo.

But by the time this sudsy saga played out I was now running late for work, and the budget Express Wash had cost me dearly.

Next time I’ll just pay the kids extra to do it for me.
© 23 January 2017

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