Friday, September 17, 2010

The car wash story

If, for some reason, you found yourself in a static position just staring at my blog last week, first of all what's the matter with you? Why aren't you outside scampering around and doing exciting things? That aside, if you *were* just staring at my blog, you would've seen a series of furious tweets on my Twitter sidebar thing relating to the fact that I was washing my car.

Apparently the weekend before I'd happened to mention to Big Bro that my car was filthy and needed a wash. At the time so was his, and he apparently offered to delay washing his so we could take part in some sort of brotherly bonding experience and wash them together. I, apparently, said yes.

By the following weekend I'd completely compartmentalised this fact in my tiny brain, only to be terrifyingly reminded of it when I happened to remark to Sparky Ma that I intended to have a lazy Sunday in front of the telly. One furious look and a series of choice words from Big Bro shot that idea down in dramatic flames, and so on Sunday afternoon I arrived back round at my parents' house ready for a quick once over my adorable car with a wet sponge and some bubbles.

Or so I thought.

I've always been full of pride for every car I've owned, and particularly with my Minis this has been reflected in a car washing technique that has lasted around about the two hour mark. When Big Bro changed his car last year, however, he surpassed even my dedication to the art of wiping bird poo of a motor.

He researched it on the internet. He bought the biggest car washing kit known to man. He formulated STAGES.

I had forgotten this.

The first instance of scrotum-tightening fear I experienced that Sunday afternoon came when he barred me from helping in the initial two stages of washing his car. At first I thought this was A GOOD THING, because I got to sit inside with Sparky Ma watching Kindergarten Cop and drinking a cup of tea. About an hour later, however, Big Bro stormed in and said "I'll complete mine on the road - get your car in the front garden and begin stage one."

"What's stage one?" I whimpered.

Big Bro tutted and looked at me like I was a special. "It's the rinsing stage, OF COURSE."

I looked over at Sparky Ma, but she just slipped ever lower behind the newspaper and pretended not to notice what was going on.


I scurried outside.

• Stage one, as I noted, is the rinsing stage. To achieve this, you use a high-pressure hose to dislodge any chunks of dirt that may have become attached to the body of the car. You do not use the high pressure hose to mimic urinating on the front garden, unless you want to be the focus of a withering stare from HE WHO MUST BE OBEYED on the other side of the road, having paused momentarily to watch you with disdain while he delicately dabs water away from his car with what looks like a fine lace hanky.

• Stage two involves cleaning the wheels with what looks like a hung, drawn and quartered hedgehog, and apparently weathering a further series of humiliating comments about yours truly.

• Stage three actually involves sloshing some car shampoo on the car. The car shampoo appears identical to Predator blood, and I was carefully monitored to ensure that I didn't waste any (as if I was going to drink it or do my hair with it or something – admittedly both distinct possibilities if left unattended). This was followed by another rinse stage, which was admittedly made more enjoyable by almost dousing one of the neighbours when she came out of her front door and I turned to say hello.

• Stage four involves wiping any remaining water from the bodywork of the car using a Californian Water Blade. It was when I'd almost completed this stage that Big Bro came over to check on my progress and, upon finding it did not even meet, let alone equal, his lofty standards, flicked dirt on my bonnet and made me repeat stages three and four.

• Stage five saw me ordered to apply tar remover to those hard-t0-remove pieces of road scum that get flicked up off the road and stuck to the doors. This was an utterly soul-destroying task.

Brief pause, possible tears. MANLY TEARS, I MIGHT ADD. Helpless looks from frightened mother. Tweeting cries for help. Stern-faced brother orders me to put down iPhone and get back to work.

• Stage six involves dabbing any remaining water away from the bodywork using the aforementioned fine lace hanky, which I discover here is a microfibre cloth. I don't even wash my face with something so soft and sophisticated.

• Stage seven is the wax stage. Big Bro joins me on my car at this point, having finally finished his own motor. As with when I offered to help him paint his bedroom and actually ended up doing the whole thing myself, I find that he concentrates on about 10 square centimetres of the roof while I am left to do everything else. By the time we've applied wax to the entire thing my previously shiny car looks like … well, a massive bird has taken an epic shit on it.

Sparky Ma comes out and so as not to enrage THE WRATH OF BROTHER, hesitatingly offers us both dinner. I have been doing this for three hours. I am inexplicably soaked from the waist down. I want to go home, but I am hungry so I say "yes." Big Bro turns to me and says "we will finish this stage in 30 MINUTES!"

I look at him, but all I hear is Mrs Kim from Gilmore Girls.

• Stage eight is initiated exactly 30 minutes later, with the furious buffing of wax off my car. What is revealed underneath is very clean, and very shiny, and, I can't help but think, slightly smaller than what I had at the beginning, as if some of it has eroded away with the all the strenuous sponging and furious buffing required by all the earlier stages.

• Stage nine was the 'black trim stage,' where we walked around the car applying a cream that looked a bit like semen to the black trim to transform it from a weathered grey to showroom-fresh black again. I can't help wondering at this point if I am the subject of some horrific practical joke.

• Stage 10 required me to walk around the car, liberally spraying 'fast glass' on the windows, headlamps, and my face. One of those things should not have been sprayed with 'fast glass.'

By the time we finished it was night. Sparky Ma said "mmmm, that looks, um, clean," but the truth was it was so dark she couldn't see it. The whole thing had taken four and half hours. I got home and immediately vetoed any thoughts I'd had about going for a run. There is only one photo of the afternoon's events; I did not take any more because Big Bro shouted "YOU'RE NOT GOING TO TAKE A PICTURE EVERY FIVE SECONDS AND PUT IT UP ON TWITTER, ARE YOU?!" It can be seen here; you can see the car-washing commie in the background.

It rained the next day.


Inexplicable DeVice said...

It always rains after one's car is washed - Didn't your Big Bro know that?

I have to admit that I have a Car washing regime very similar to his. Perhaps I should discuss with him the comparisons/differences between various car washing aides while you watch The Gilmore Girls(or whatever tripe it is that you watch now)?

Tim said...

Don't you be discussing nothin' with my bro! Although … he would probably set you to work in the automotive mines… Hmmm…

And don't you be dissing GIlmore Girls or I'll set Pete on you.

CyberPete said...

HEY! No dissin' da Gilmore Gals! They are da bomb!

You have a lovely car Tim, and while it was a bit overkill, the result was great wasn't it? I mean showroom black is always nice.

As for my way of washing a car? I get into a pair of hotpants and a skimpy white T-shirt and a pair of heels. Soak the car, rub it with a soapy sponge and then hose it off. If it's the advanced way, I wipe it off with some weird leathery hanky thing.

Tim said...

A smidgeon too much information, dear boy.

CyberPete said...

I thought maybe your brother could learn a thing or two

Tara said...

I'm wondering if your brother and mine were related in another life. I've never washed a car under his strict supervision, but I did go car hunting with his "help". Never again.

Wow, I never thought car washing had ten stages. Since I don't have access to a water hose at my apartment, I just go through the automatic car wash down the street, and I get to stay in my car. You should go that route next time.

However you wash your car, though, the law dictates that it will rain the very next day.

It looks nice, though!!

Tim said...

Cyberpete - Um, no … I'm thinking, um, not so much, really?

Tara - Oh, no way am I every taking my car to a carwash! Sparky Pa used to work in that industry, and I know some stories about the damage they can inflict on your car! And anyway, there's an awesome sense of achievement when it's FINALLY done!

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Inexplicable DeVice said...

"Don't you be discussing nothin' with my bro!"
Sounds like you've got something to hide. Maybe you wash your car in an outfit like 'Petra's? This will give me a lot to *ahem* think about... Perhaps I should speak to your brother after all?

Jolandi Kerstetter said...

Awww. What a sweet time you had with your bro, even though it looks like you guys have been through a lot to get it done. But it was so funny that it rained on the next day, I can just imagine the reaction of your bro.