confused at the car wash

because the present has been given, i can now share the story of how i bought roommate’s birthday gift.

there’s the saying “it’s just like riding a bike” and if you’re me, that means you end up embarrassed or slightly injured or confusing the guys at the car wash. let me explain. oh, but first, some background. (i’ll make it quick.) i’ve changed my breakfast eating habits and as a result, i’m MUCH slower in the mornings. i’ve had to get over my (somewhat unfounded) fears and ride my bike to work. because when i ride, it takes a whopping 10 minutes to get to work vs. the 30 minutes it takes me to walk. and let me tell you, other than horrible helmet hair, i am loving this mode of transportation. especially since i’ve been working late. do you know how nice it is to be home in 10 minutes instead of 30? cause then i’m that much closer to my comfy clothes. and all i want after a long day at work is to be comfy.

i digress.

so on wednesday, i decide to forgo the gym and ride my bike around town as i check some errands off my to do list. i told myself i’d keep my bike in a higher gear, thus forcing my legs to work harder because this was my only exercise for the day. one of my stops was at the car wash to buy a gift card for my roomie’s birthday. she is kind to her car. she likes to treat it right. me and my bike can respect that.

i pull up to the opening of the car wash and hop off my bike. there’s one car in the garage, one lined up behind it. there’s no employee that i can see. there’s nowhere to lock up my bike, so i stand and wait. i mean, there are two cars there, a guy has to come help soon. plus, i hate it when i don’t know what to do. i get shy. so i wait. and i watch. and i hope the answer will come to me. i’m a patient person.

the driver of the second car gets out and runs inside, speaks to a guy and then returns to his car and leaves.


i poke my head into the doorway because (a) i feel really weird WALKING into a car wash. (b) i want to signal to the guy that i’m there waiting. (c) i want to make sure they’re still open because why did that car just leave? (d) i don’t want to leave my bike because, as i said, there’s nowhere to lock it up and i’m paranoid that someone will steal my beauty of a bicycle. i spot a man and yell “are you still open? do you sell gift cards?” and the guy gives me a confused look and holds up one finger. no not THAT finger, the one that signals he needs one more minute. i continue to wait patiently. cause that’s how i roll.

he goes over to the car that’s also waiting patiently and does that pre-wash thing where he washes the car before it heads onto the automatic belt that’ll roll the car through the big wash. (that always struck me as odd. it’s sort of like washing the dishes before running the dishwasher.) with that car taken care of, he turns to me. i repeat my question about them having gift cards and he says “yes, autos.” i nod. he studies me and then says, “cars.” i realize i’m still wearing my bike helmet and have blonde hair and what? does he think i want to ride through the car wash? i laugh and say, “yes, cars. not my bike.” he smiles and we complete the transaction. (note to self, they only have one type of card. and it includes 5 washes. so don’t ask for anything more or less.)

happy with that mission accomplished, i return to my bike and ride off into the sunset. that was thwarted because, well, this is real life, and people like me don’t ride off into the sunset. not when you forgot to down shift the gears and you’re attempting to start your bike on 2.7; it’s like pedaling through peanut butter. and not when you’re biking down somerville ave which has all these new speed bumps. for the .5 miles i was on that road, i had to go over, no joke, 17 of them. they are those long, sloping up/down, flat top in the middle bumps that aren’t fun in a car and really aren’t nice to ride over on a bike. i had to perch atop my bike over each one. i was having flashbacks to horseback riding lessons where you raise in the stirrups as the horse goes over the jump. except my bike’s not nearly as handsome as a horse. (sorry bike, you’re not.)

no one ever said gift giving was easy.

4 thoughts on “confused at the car wash”

  1. I’m kind of fascinated that his default word was “autos” and not “cars.” Interesting. Otherwise, sounds like a fun adventure where they should be totally embarrassed for jumping to conclusions, not you.

    1. aww, thanks.

      english was not his first language, so i’m assuming that’s why he used the word autos. i find it very interesting that’s what you picked up on. you do have an ear for language. say, are you a writer? :)

  2. Ah, horseback riding at a trot. My rear end remembers it well. ;)

    And helmet hair is a small price to pay for shaving 20 minutes off your commute.

    1. my memories of horseback riding at camp are both fond and terrifying. horses are soo cool, but yet, SO HUGE. and yes indeed, helmet hair is a fair trade off for gaining at extra 20 minutes at home in the morning.

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