Crow's-Feet Chronicles: Wash day for seniors
By Cindy Baker Burnett
Jun 9, 2014
Print this page
Email this article

Now that I’ve recovered from the trauma of hitting 65 (and beyond), I’m relishing my entitlement to discounts.   In particular---Car Wash Tuesdays.  The sign at Cheeky Car Wash reads, “Wash and vacuum---Senior Citizens -- $10.95.” 

Think back to 1976 when scandalous humor abounded in the movie “Car Wash,” starring George Carlin and Richard Pryor, two eccentric car wash employees.  The comedy took place in one day at a Los Angeles full-service car wash detailing one bizarre encounter after the next, including fare-dodging prostitutes, transvestites, full body casts, evangelists and the Pointer Sisters.  Actually, it was a cult film way ahead of its time. 

I’m snake-bitten, though.  If it doesn’t rain the day after I get my car washed, the sky opens up to a flock of birds the instant I leave the car wash.  One bird looks down and says, “There’s a nice clean car pulling out of that car wash.  Anyone need to go?” 

These days, I enter the car wash lane and pull my car forward until the guy holds up his hand for me to stop.  I grab my coffee mug, purse, cell phone, and any loose papers that are lying in the seat.  Invariably, I’ll take the car keys inside the building with me.  Yeah, the kid finds me; I apologize; and I hand them over to him.  Then I browse through the greeting cards, car air fresheners, cookbooks, and other money-making snares on my way to the check-out counter. 

Several weeks ago I visited my favorite car wash rehab and Lanny Joe noticed that I came home without the front passenger-side floor mat.  It hasn’t bothered me, but he keeps needling me about it.  Before I left the house today to go to the car wash, he urged me to ask about it.  I did. 

“Ma’am, do you know when you were here last?”  I didn’t.  He disappeared into the Lost and Found room and appeared a few minutes later with a floor mat.  “This is the only one we have.  If it suits you, you can have it.”  It didn’t quiiiite fit. 

The employee said, “This won’t work in your car.” 

“Yes it will,” I insisted.  “Force it.”  He obliged. 

I drove home with the floor mat stomped and stuffed in the floorboard.  It was like rolling out the dough for a double-crust pie and using all of it, untrimmed, as the bottom crust.  Imagine the bolts of dough that would need crimping---like rolling up a king-size fitted sheet and shoving it into a toilet paper tube.  The Godzilla of floor mats. 

When I arrived home, all Lanny could say was: “Really, Cindy?” 

“Hey, it’s not perfect, but it’ll do.” 

“Yeah, for an Edsel.”