Everyone, once in a while, needs a way to take a break and clear their mind. Some people use art, some people use drugs, some people use math (nerds), and some people like me take their car for a good old fashion wash.
I’ve never been good at drawing.With my bad luck, the first time I try a substance like methamphetamine or heroin, I’ll probably die, and math only makes me rip my own leg off, swallow it, and shit out a prosthetic of my own leg. That’s a very painful process, as you can imagine.
Therefore, I take two days out of every month to thoroughly give my baby, my car, a good old scrubbing.
Let me explain this process so you can understand why having mindless activities is absolutely pertinent to mental health.
Firstly, I arrive. That’s a big deal because I scope out everyone at the do-it-yourself wash to see if there are any other badasses like me. More often than not, there aren’t.
Then I get some coins from the shitty coin machine while praying to a God I’m not entirely sure I believe in that the coin machine doesn’t fuck me over.
I sigh with relief when it does not.
I avoid eye contact with the one drunk/high homeless man who always tries to talk to me in Spanish. The bad thing about being as obsessive with routine as I am, is that other people start to recognize my habits as well.
Then I spray the chrome cleaner on my wheels and let it set for a few minutes before rinsing off my car, scrubbing it with the foam brush, then rinsing it again to make sure every bit of caked on dirt is annihilated.
I have an emotional connection to my computers, to my phones, to my vehicle. When I saw the ad on Craigslist for it all cleaned nicely, parked beside the cliffs against the sunset, I knew it was mine. I bought it two hours later. I care about my car as much as I care about my boyfriend.
When some woman passed my car this evening and touched the hood to keep her balance it felt like some chick had just walked up to my boyfriend and groped his junk. That’s how personal I get.
Back to the story.
After everything is rinsed, I hurry and start the car and drive it to the drying station where I run around frantically with a five foot microfiber towel wiping away as much water as I can before the towel is drenched. Yes, I run. This is when most people start staring at the red haired chick with the red and blue eyebrows and black and blue eyeliner with blue eyelashes jogging in a circle around her vehicle until the entirety of the car is finished.
Did I mention I’ve dyed my hair and my eyebrows weeks ago? The blue eyelashes are not fake, I tint them with a gel eye shadow because I don’t like the colored mascaras in the stores, they don’t work very well.
I use specialized towels for the windows. I use one towel per two windows. When it comes to the windshield and back window, half of the windshield uses one towel, the other half uses a new one; the same goes for the back window.
At this point, everyone is staring. (Will she pull a house full of towels from her car? Is she hiding bodies in there? Why is she bumping that music and smoking pot in public? Oh Gosh, oh golly gosh, we gotta get out of here!)
Then I pull out the wax. Yes, my friends, I do not use that stupid “spray on wax” bullshit. What is that even? What. Is. That. It’s shit is what it is. I use the wax that comes in the round container with the sponge and karate kid the fuck out of my car.
My favorite wax is mothers:
I currently use this brand that I can’t pronounce:
I will be switching back to mother’s after I run out. Meg-whatever-the-fuck doesn’t coat for as long and the coat isn’t as protective as mothers’.
While the waxed sections air dry, I start cleaning out all the trash and thanking the million men who come up and say “wow, you keep your car clean, I like it”. I’ve had drug dealers (I saw him deal) in nice new Mercedes compliment me, I’ve had homeless men compliment me, I’ve had old country-style men compliment me, and I’ve had some guys feel so enamored by my presence that they offer to buy me stuff from the store. No, I do not accept; like I trust a guy I don’t know to hand me a drink, dude, get real. I don’t even trust waiters in restaurants half the time.
After I wipe away the wax and dust all the crevices I spray the tires. While that sets, I vacuum the inside and clean the inner windows and my mirrors.
I do everything in this order every two weeks. I’ve become a regular; all the regular men know me now. It takes anywhere from one and a half to three hours, depending on how dirty everything is, inside and out.
I care enormously for my car. It hurts my heart that I don’t have the money to fix the oil leak or the entire suspension. I hate it. It hurts like I’m letting down my best friend.
That being said, I’ve had half of my suspension done; that was 500. I’m hoping to put in another five hundred to fix the back half this month or next. I’m hoping to find the oil leak and fix it myself when I have the time and a manual.
But he’s a power hungry little beast. He keeps up with all the new Hybrids and fancy sporty cars. I drag raced my friend’s 2014 Chrysler a week after her grandparents bought it for her, and won, not that that means anything.
The love someone feels for a child is what I feel for inanimate objects. They are things I can watch grow, they are things that make me happy when I’m sad. And everyone needs something like that in their life.
The best thing about owning your own car is customization. At this point I will announce my latest cheap changes that will be happening before October (that in no way effect my fund to fix the suspension, in case you’re the kind of person who sits here and says ‘uugghh stop spending money on the outside of your car when the inside is shitty’).
The two emblems on the back are this:
Around my license plate is this:
Where my car is labeled “Stratus”, I will be replacing the chrome letters with “Strange”.
Yes, those are chrome wheels and not plastic rims. BALLIN’.
Where it says “Dodge” on the left hand corner of the drivers door (and passenger door), I will be putting “Music”.
Yes, this is all legal.
This is my way of balancing my sanity: giving my entire day to taking care of something I care tremendously about. Everyone should have a car to wash, a painting to paint, a song to write, something that gives your brain time to relax and remember itself for a moment. It’s amazing how calmed you are afterwards.