Wednesday, March 16, 2016

What College Taught Me About Car Washes

One day in college I was on my way to work and realized I was going to be about 20 minutes early. This was a rare summer where I did have a car. Most of the year I was on foot, and that worked out great. But this summer I had a car. This was "way back" when not every college kid had a car or a cell phone, so I felt cool and wanted to keep the car looking nice. 

I figured I had just enough time to take the car through the automatic car wash. This car wash to be exact. 

I love car washes. They still kinda freak me out, but I love them. Rather than the spinning brush, this car wash had the long blue tentacles that slapped your car and made the whole world shake. 

So I was sitting there and a thought entered my head. And then it because a curiosity. And then an urge. I thought it'd be fun to roll down the window. 

Genius, I know. 

So I hit the button. The window came down. And...

I don't know what I was expecting. A gentle cool breeze as the ethereal blue cloths gently swished back and forth over my car? Yeah...not so much. 

Instantly the blue tentacles were bursting through the open window. I was instantly soaked, along with the seat, and all the papers on the seat next to me. 

I started battling the tentacles, trying to push them back out the window as they slapped my face and grabbed my hair. I was sure I was going to get sucked out the window and eaten by this monster posing as a car wash. 

So I started rolling up the window, but the tentacles were grabbing at the window. I was pretty sure they were going to snap the window right off. But I kept battling and shoving the tentacles back out the window as I slowly rolled it up. Finally the last tentacle was out and the window went up the last inch. 

The battle was over. I had survived! 

And I was a wreck! My nice clothes that I'd carefully washed to get out the smell of frying corn chips and refried beans (everyone has to pay their dues and waitress some time, right?) were now soaked and disheveled. My hair was worse than bed head. And the paperwork sitting on the seat next to me was limp. 

What was I going to do?! I couldn't show up to work like that! 

So I had a genius idea. 

When the blowers came by drying off the car, I rolled down the window. 

And the battle of the desert tornado began. 

Instantly papers were flying. My hair tried to eat my face and strangle me. My cheeks were flapping. 

So battling the papers, prying my hair from around my face and neck I found the window button and rolled it up as quickly as I could. 

My hair was much drier, but it was a hopeless rats nest. The car was covered in papers. And I'm pretty sure I looked like I'd just wrestled a bear. 

And then the light turned green telling me I could leave the tunnel of horrors. I flew out of there, catching a glimpse of the guy in the truck behind me in line, laughing hysterically. 

In college I kept a small notebook with me constantly to write down things I learned. Not what I learned from my classes, but what I learned from the whole college experience. 

Looking through the pages you won't see notes about the meter in Shakespeare's sonnets, the chemical formula for silver plating, or the star names in Orion, even though those are all things I learned at college. 

Instead I wrote down life lessons. And man, did I have some good ones. Some were learned through good times. Some were learned through hard times. And some were learned through humor. 

That book has sat in my keepsake box for about 8 years now, and I realized it is well past time to pull it out and go back through the memories and the lessons. There are good lessons in there. Some only pertained to the college years, but some pertain to life. 

While reading through them I realized it would make a great new series in here. Some of these stories and lessons are too good to keep tucked away! 

So today I figured I'd start with my two favorite lessons. 

Lesson #1: 
Don't roll down your window while going through the automatic car wash or you will battle for your life.

Lesson #2: 
Don't roll down your window when the driers turn on in the automatic car wash to try and fix the mistake from the above lesson.

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