Dude Where's My Car?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I’ve made reference to this before, but it merits mentioning again…I have a total Type-AOCD personality.

My husband would probably try to challenge this statement on days when he comes home and it looks like a rock band has been on an all-night bender – dishes overflowing in the sink, dehydrated pizza sitting on the stove and quite possibly some sort of bodily function left in an unknown location of my living room (from my animals or children of course.)

But here’s the interesting, and ironic, part of my controlling tendencies…I’m either in total organized, clean, nothing-out-of-place mode or I’m catatonic on the couch blissfully unaware if Bianca is taking markers to the walls or not. There doesn’t seem to be a happy medium for me. (I’m sure this is some sort of disorder all its own, but I haven’t been formally diagnosed yet. Therefore, the best way for me to keep peace and order in my life is to be very regimented and routine.)

I love making lists – actual, hand-written in a spiral notebook lists. I get so much more satisfaction putting a giant black line through something I’ve accomplished than deleting it off of my i-Phone.

I love having a set schedule. Granted, I probably follow said schedule two days out of the week, if I’m lucky, but I still know that it’s there which gives me a sense of calm in the storm.

Well, in the last few weeks I’ve gotten myself into a subconscious routine of driving to the gas station on Sunday after church to buy my Sunday paper full of what else, coupons. (On a side note – I wonder how much sales of the Sunday paper would drop if they no longer inserted coupons? The answer is probably very sad to me as a writer…but I digress.)

Anyway, while I’m at the gas station I fill up my tank for the week. And of course the gas station has a discount where you get so many cents off a gallon if you purchase a car wash. (They always get you with these deals. I figured it up and if I spend seven dollars on a car wash I end-up saving four dollars on my gas. So I haven’t really saved anything, but I do get a trip through the car wash for only three bucks.)


How many people are a little freaked-out by the car wash? Come on; admit it.

I mean you drive your car into a box – doors closing in front and behind you. The soap ruins your visibility, so you are essentially in a car coffin for several minutes. And I’d be lying if I said I’d never worried some crazed lunatic might be lurking inside. The rational side of my brain reminds me that said psychopath would be blinded and mauled by the soap and brushes, but I have still thought about it.


When Bianca was smaller, she would get very scared inside the car wash, so any subconscious fears I had subsided as I tried to reassure her of how fun the car wash could be. “Look at all the pretty colors!” I would say in my highest, most upbeat voice. Over the months, Bianca came to enjoy this time in the carwash, and I started using the time to multi-task.


In most areas of my life, multi-task is code for ‘attempting to do too many things at once, in turn failing miserably at everything.’ This past Sunday was no exception.


I had my newspaper in the passenger seat as I pulled up to the menu at the car wash. This car wash is the kind where you need the driving skills of Dale Earnhardt to be able to line your tire up perfectly between those two metal bars. You then place your car in neutral and are pulled through the car wash. Well, I arrived at the screen, made a mental note to place the car in neutral and I typed in our five-digit code.

The door opened and our car began to move through the car wash. We were moving along fine a few seconds and then I felt something click and I got the sensation that one of our tires had come off the track. It was as if the car dropped a few inches, and then we began to move again.

Then we stopped.

The car wash kept going – giant, red brushes spinning over the windshield at mach speed.

I could hear the water jets come on ahead to rinse our car, but we were still sitting motionless – where the brushes had now ceased to move.

I immediately panicked. (I am definitely not the person you want with you in a crisis!) My mind instantly went to the fire department having to come and cut us out of the car wash.

I did what I always do when I don’t know what to do – I called my husband.

As the phone rang, I took a deep breath trying to calm myself because Chuck doesn’t do well with me in a state of hysteria.

Chuck: Hello

Me: I don’t want you to panic, but Bianca and I are stuck in the car wash.

Kids are so intuitive, because Bianca immediately picked up on my mannerism and tone and started to freak out in the back seat.

Bianca: When are we gonna get out of here, momma?

Chuck: What do you mean you’re stuck in the car wash?

Me: I mean we were going along through the car wash and all the sudden we stopped moving and now the car wash has stopped and I don’t know if I will tear-up my wheels if I try to put the car in….

My eye traveled to the dashboard as I was about to say put the car in Drive and drive out when I saw that I’d never even put the car in Neutral. I was still in Park.

I remembered thinking to myself, “Put the car in Neutral.” But I was so preoccupied with getting my stupid coupons out of the newspaper that I obviously forgot.

I can be such an idiot sometimes, and a little bit of a drama queen. As I’m thinking this to myself, I realize Chuck is still on the other-end of the line thinking Bianca and I are actually ‘stuck’ in the car wash.

I finally tell him that all I have to do is take my car out of Park and we’ll be just fine.

Chuck: Are you going to go inside and tell them something’s wrong with the car wash?

Me: What am I going to tell them is wrong, that you need more than one brain cell to operate it?

I pulled out of the car wash like a dog with my tail between my legs, because my entire car was covered in white foam. I refused to go inside and admit my stupidity for another carwash, so I drove through town to a carwash where I could pull in and spray my car off.

The moral of the story: Number one; God has a funny way of telling me I don’t need to wash my car every week. Number two; I obviously need to stick to trying to accomplish one thing at a time.