I would not exactly say that I am claustrophobic, but I do not like the feeling of being in a room without having the windows open. The door open, too. My blood pressure elevates a bit. I think about exit strategies. I start to feel concern about hydrating. And I want to be out in the sunshine or rain — as soon as possible.
My truck recently was baptized by what looked to be the aftermath of a rowdy seagull kegger. Wow, was it a mess. I suspect that they were up on top of the canopy partying it up and having a blast and not thinking hygiene. Not to be crude, but it was pretty remarkable. So an afternoon of truck washing was in order.
I always wash my truck myself as I don’t like being in tight places while being flailed, battered, and beaten about by high pressure hoses and those massive brushes that swoop in from odd angles to whap-whap-whap the sides of my truck. It is a long journey for me through that lane of cleaning violence. But after looking at my truck and surveying the extent of the bird party, I thought that I would Try Something New and go through the car wash. Feeling fearless!
For those of you who go through car washes with great frequency, the only other things I can compare it to is perhaps playing violin at a recital, public speaking at a TED talk, standing at the edge of a precipice with a fear of heights, small rodents crossing your path in the kitchen, a spider dangling above your nose when you wake up in the morning, a snake curled around your carton of eggs in the root cellar, seeing a clown walking toward you in a dark alley, fear of failure . . . this sort of thing.
But cleanliness is a virtue, and I do like to feel virtuous. I pulled up to the lane and was surprised to see that I was the only car there. Perhaps because it was a lull between steady downpours, but I felt happy that there was no one behind me in line that would witness any ineptitude in me lining up my left wheels just so in the shoot.
The young man who met me was super tall and lanky. It looked like he could handle a hose with a pressure washer. And it made me happy that he was definitely tall enough to see and wash off the Party Vortex on the top of the canopy. When I pulled up, his assessment was simply stated: “Wow, man! You really need a wash.” He walked me through the various options and, not trusting the thought of coating my vehicle in wax, I chose “The Basic Wash.” He assured me that with The Basic, it was likely that most of the stuff on my truck would be removed.
I was able to miraculously line up the wheels just so. Then he and his partner-in-wash started to spray the truck down. I then felt even more panic. I hadn’t asked if the engine should be on or off. Intuition told me to not have the e-brake on. But what about being in neutral? Oh no! I was going to be shunted through the tunnel without any sense of propriety. I started to sweat.
The men were having a lot of fun as they worked. The tall one blasted a dilute spray of gull waste at the short one. Cussing ensued. The tall one laughed. Tall people. I don’t know.
Blessedly, there was a pause in the initial washing, and I tentatively rolled down my window. “Should I have it in neutral?”
“Man, you don’t want it to be in park or with the brake on.”
“What about the engine? On or off?”
I am thinking, Doesn’t matter? How can this be? I opted for off.
Well, you veteran Car Wash people know that nothing bad happens when you go through the wash. It is done in less than 2 minutes and you have a very pretty truck when you are done. It is so shiny! And I felt as if I had conquered one of life’s mysteries. The tall one told me to not take off. He wanted to polish everything up nice and pretty as a final courtesy.
I drove away happy with the experience. While in the wash shoot, I did start to panic a bit, wondering why it was slowing down. Do I have water in here with me? A power bar? Should my antenna be rattling like that? But instead of feeling stressed, I grabbed my phone and started taking pictures midway through the experience. Nothing artistically stellar, mind you. Just click click click.
So, my Try Something New is surely going to become a regular event in my life. I now really like going to the car wash. So easy and shiny and pretty. And it feels good to know I am taking care of my truck.
My Try Something New for tomorrow? I am not sure. It hasn’t revealed itself yet. But this passage of doing something extraordinary (for me, that is) every single day has really opened up all sorts of possibilities in life. Like ordering a honey martini for the first time, trying a new dance move, introducing myself to someone whom I see out and about town all the time, not caring about my boss’s bad jokes about my hair, wearing something that is not black, white, or gray . . . these things sound small and inconsequential but they are moving things around. Molecules are being re-arranged. Life is being renewed and cleaned and made shiny.