Photo by Juan Di Nella
This was going to be a day that I would never forget.
I had planned this trip for several weeks now and it was finally here. How would this turn out? I had no idea, but I determined myself to try anyway.
I was on my way to see my girlfriend of the time. She lived nearly 2 hours away and I had vague directions to her house. I was unstoppable. Dressed in my white denim pants, matching white shirt, and hair done up for a magazine shoot, I was out the door.
But first to the car wash. I had to make a good impression on the people I was going to meet. Especially her dad.
Firing up the 1983 Buick Something or Another, I thundered out the driveway. Taking a gulp of my over-sized Mountain Dew, I threw caution to the wind. Would I be well received? I had no idea. I was just glad to take a road trip.
I spent the previous evening cleaning the interior of the Buick. Now, once the outside was clean it would really help my odds. Pulling into the car wash I thought to myself that it would be safer to go through the automatic so as not to get soaking wet from the over-spray. It cost a little more, but I didn’t care. I only washed my car twice a year anyway.
The dollars inserted and the green light flashing, I entered the car wash.
With the tires into the proper stopping point, I put the vehicle in park and prayed all would go well. I had heard horror stories about car washes before from people who had larger SUVs and trucks. Wipers blown clean off the rear glass, antennas snapped clean off, and rear trailer hitches causing problems. I had a microscopic car, what could go wrong?
I had to ask.
The wash started with a general spray to wet the vehicle and loosen the big stuff off. Then the wash cycle started on the passenger side. I thought my car was going to roll over due to the intensity of the jet spray. My car rocking back and forth, the jets go to the rear, and so far so good. Now the jets were approaching the driver side and again the car began shaking side to side. With the roaring in my ears, I looked at the window and saw the white foam of the soap coming into the car through the window seal. I yelled loud and clear as the foam drenched my left leg with the hot foamy substance.
With the seat belt flying off and all manner of scrambling going on in the car, it was really rocking now!
What was I going to do? It still had another couple cycles to go through! I was trapped. I tried to roll the window up more thinking maybe it was down just a hair. It rolled up just a fraction of an inch. Yes! The next pass was coming around. I was prepared this time. With my hand on the handle, I pull down on it to push it up tighter and saw only a small amount of water come in.
I had survived.
I was so glad to see the red light change to green signaling my exit. I parked my car in the sun and got out to see what had happened. Apparently the pressure was able to push the water past the window seal because I never had any issues with it before. As I thought about it, I had never been in a rain storm that shook my car that bad either. I laughed as I saw the water puddled in the floor board and how much had gotten on my leg. With a wet seat and drenched pant leg, I rolled down the windows to turn on the AC and laughed all the way there.
I finally arrived at the town. I made it without a single wrong turn. That much was in my favor at least considering the vagueness of the directions I had.
It was Sunday, so she would be in church. I had failed to get the exact name of the church.
“It’s the big one. You can’t miss it.”
Guess what. I had missed it.
They failed to tell me that it was on a side street and not the main street. So I patiently waited outside the wrong church (unbeknown to me) sweating myself to death looking like a stalker or shady character. People started coming out of the church. I watched and waited. She never showed. Maybe she was inside talking or waiting on her parents.
Can’t hurt to ask.
I locked my doors and headed inside to see if she was there. I soon learned that I had the wrong church. I spoke with what appeared to be elders or just older gentlemen. I couldn’t have received a better conversation. I explained my intentions of surprising my girlfriend and I was hopelessly lost. One of the gentlemen asked her parents name, I replied that I had no idea. I said her last name is Brown and that her mother had just recently remarried. He said he might know who it was I was referring to. He gave me precise directions to their home. Wow! What luck. I thanked them for their help and left on the next leg of my journey.
I found the house finally. Brown on the mailbox and thankfully a shade tree in the yard. I took the shady spot and parked my car. I approached the door with nervous stricken hands. What if I had the wrong house? Would I get a shotgun in my face? I rang the doorbell and knocked. (I always do both.) Nothing. A huge relief washed out of me. I went back to my car to wait.
20-30 minutes passed in silence and I nearly fell asleep in the summer heat when a vehicle pulled into the drive. This is the moment I had been working towards for weeks now. It was victory or defeat.
The driver was a male and the passenger was clearly his wife, then a familiar face pressed into the rear window with a look of confusion. As I stepped out of the car I knew I had taken steps to fully succeeding in my schemes. I had the right house, and the look of joy and excitement on my girlfriend’s face told me that it was a complete success.
The parents were not too crazy to have a strange young man in their yard, but once we had lunch and everyone got acquainted with one another all the feathers were smoothed out. It ended up being an enjoyable visit. We later went to the right church and enjoyed the evening service.
I drove home victorious in my mind.