Sunday, 12 January 2014
Earlier this week I took my car to the car wash. I don’t mean the local BP garage that has a drive-in drive-out jobbie with automatic whirling brushes. No. I mean one of those foreign car wash enterprises. Have you noticed how they’ve sprung up all over the UK? They aren’t the most salubrious looking places thanks to their leaky corrugated roofs and mismatched shelving units. And I wouldn’t want to befriend the chap who wields the high pressure jet. There’s something about a man with a balaclava, missing teeth and a face full of bristles that tends to leave me a bit nervous. Not to mention the way they communicate.
Mr Grisly: Meaty fist banging against driver’s window. ‘Oi, lady.’
Me: Uneasily. ‘Yes?’
Mr Grisly: Intimidatingly. ‘Park car here.’
Me: Apprehensively. ‘Right here?’
Mr Grisly: Raises hand, extends stubby forefinger, and makes circular motion. ‘Face car other way.’
Me: Dithering. ‘Why?’
Mr Grisley: Sneering. ‘You drive car through wrong entrance. You all back to front. Turn car.’
Me: Panicking at prospect of doing a three point turn in a narrow area. ‘Do I have to?’
Mr Grisly: Menacingly. ‘I no have all day.’
Me: Swiftly executes a thirty-eight point turn.
Mr Grisly: Summons gang. Car assaulted with pressure jet, soap, hundreds of whizzing sponges, water, and chamois leathers.
Me: Presses central locking button.
Mr Grisley: Bangs on sparkling window. ‘Gimme money.’
Me: Hands over entire contents of purse, which turns out to be two pence because, unbeknown to me, daughter ‘borrowed’ my last tenner.
Mr Grisley: Sounding like The Godfather. ‘You come back.’
Me: Gibbering wreck. ‘Yes, yes, of course, I wouldn’t dream of not paying, Honesty is my middle name, and, oh…!’
Mr Grisley: Violent arm gesture. ‘Move. Next customer, he waiting.’
Needless to say, because these car washes aren’t exactly a comfortable experience, I don’t frequent them very often. Nonetheless these chaps do a mean car wash worthy of show room quality. And, boy, did my car need a good clean.
After weeks of endless rain, the roads have been awash with filthy water, grit and mud. The first clue that my car needed a good clean was because, after almost a month, it was no longer silver but matt brown. The second clue was more obvious. Some kind soul had licked their finger and written a message in the muck. It said I wish my wife was this dirty. Even worse, somebody else had licked their finger and added a post script. She is. I’m not the only one to be on the receiving end of this ‘car graffiti wit’. Whilst passing a stationery lorry emptying the local school’s septic tank, some wag had etched onto the lorry’s rear No stools left in this vehicle overnight. And whilst stuck in the local rush hour, I was sitting behind a van on which somebody had put the signature R. Send. Others, more predictably, had Clean me, Also available in white, and Driver lexdyslic.
Despite the terrible weather, I suspect car washes all over the country have been doing a roaring business. Which reminds me. A blonde heard that a new car wash was in her neighbourhood. ‘How convenient,’ she said, ‘I’ll be able to walk to it…’