At The Carwash


(As told by Josie Steeb)

I felt great picking up my repaired Escort at the garage and even better knowing that I had paid for the repairs myself. It inspired me to give the car a special cleaning. While I was outside vacuuming and straightening the inside, Zoe, my neighbor friend, sidled her way over and hung out while I worked. I told her that when I got the inside done I was taking it to a carwash.
“Want to go with me when I’m done?” I asked.
“Yeah, I go with my mom all the time.” she said, “I like all the colors of wax.”
When we started on our way a short while later, I said, “I think I’ll go for the whole works. The car deserves to have everything done. I usually only get the five dollar job. It won’t be more than ten dollars, will it?”
I didn’t really expect her to know, but I wasn’t surprised when she answered, “No, the biggest is eight dollars.” Like her big brother Michael, these Hoffman kids often carry on adult conversations. That’s because, unlike many kids these days, they actually listen to what the adults around them are saying, and they learn a lot of practical stuff. With her experience, I guessed it would be a huge help to have her along.
“I hope they give you change. I only have a $10 bill.”
“Yeah, they do,” she assured, “I think they give you quarters.”
We were behind another car waiting to go in and Zoe was telling me all the steps we’d go through. “First, it will get the undercarriage.” she explained. We waited for the car in front to go.
When it was finally our turn, I pulled forward and said, “Now it’s rinsing the car. When does it do the undercarriage?”
“That was when we drove in; it’s over. You kinda went a
little fast.”
“Oh no! I missed it?”
“That’s OK. I think it got it pretty clean,” she soothed, so I wouldn’t feel bad that, first thing, I’d missed a step.
Suds went over and around us. My window was up, but I still got an occasional spray of water from some gap that gave in to the intense water pressure. “Aaughh! There must be something loose around my windows.”
Zoe giggled, knowing I got spritzed. More light droplets kept spitting from somewhere during the wash and rinse, and Zoe got a big kick out of me getting wet.
The wax was definitely the best part. “Oh, it’s red white and blue,” I exclaimed, “Patriotic colors.”
“Actually, that’s green,” she corrected.
“Oh! It’s like Aquafresh!” I joked. Zoe thought that was
pretty funny. She added that her little brother, Zane, liked the wax part best, too.
When we started through the drying cycle, I said, ” I’ll go nice and slow so my car won’t have any streaks.”
Well, don’t go too slow or you won’t get it all dry,” she cautioned, ” ’cause you only have a little bit.” I realized she was looking at a timer ticking off the seconds that I couldn’t see. She kept posting me how much time was left while I eased the car along.
When we left, we drove past the vacuum area, and Zoe suggested that I could have swept my car here, but I was glad that I started with it at home or she might not have ended up coming with me.
On our way home, we stopped at the grocery store to get a couple things. We noticed a big bin of “snacks to go” cups, two for a $1. Zoe took no time choosing a cup of cheesy Ritz Bits as her favorite, but I took a minute to finally pick up the mini Chips Ahoy cookies. Any job well done deserves a reward.

…Fade to Rose Royce’s song:
At the car wash
Whoa whoa whoa whoa
Talkin about the car wash, girl
Come on ya’ll and sing it with me
Oooh oooh oooh
(Car wash, girl)

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