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Editor Gets Stuck in the Car Wash


March 29, 2010 by wcobserver

“I’m stuck in the car wash and can’t get out”, I yelled out a small crack in my window, hoping someone would hear me.  It was 8:00 a.m. and it was the first day in what seemed like forever that temperatures were going to be in the 40’s. My “usual” car wash on MLK Boulevard in Fayetteville had some kind of thermal-looking curtains blocking the automatic wash bays. That should have been my first clue that maybe it wasn’t warm enough to wash my car yet.

As I headed to 71 South, I pulled into a small car wash with only one automatic bay on the corner of 15th Street and south School Street.  A wash was only $2.00; the place was a little old, but I noticed that the bay was quite narrow when I pulled in.  My little Prius often doesn’t get a decent wash in the bays built for SUVs, and as the first soapy spray passed over my car, I remember thinking my car might really get clean here…and for only $2.00.

But my car would only receive soap.  The sprayer passed over only once and then it got stuck behind my car spewing soapy water.  I waited.  And waited. And waited. Pretty soon, I realized that the sprayer wasn’t going to turn off.  It wasn’t going to move.  So, I brilliantly tried to inch forward.  The little “stops” for the tires were turned in and my little Prius wasn’t going to jump them easily.  I tried to back up and realized the old fashioned sprayer looked more like a long fluorescent light fixture, vertically hanging from the ceiling from the narrow end.  It hung down low enough to completely prevent me from backing out.

I started to open the door to get out, but the spray was still going full force and I knew I was going to get wet if I exited. It was at this moment that I realized I was stuck in the car wash.  I reached for my cell phone, and ticked down a mental list of who I might call.  Who do you call when you’re stuck in the car wash?  My husband was out of town.  My Dad is 20 minutes away having his morning coffee in West Fork.  I was too embarrassed to call 911; what would I say? “Help, I’m stuck in a car wash and can’t get out”.

I finally decided I was going to have to open the door spring out quickly and seek help.  I looked behind me; the sprayer was still going strong.  I opened the door and jumped out, and was immediately sprayed with a fine soapy mist.  I took one step forward and my feet hit a solid sheet of ice; I literally flew out of the car wash bay, sliding with my arms flailing.

As I did, I noticed a guy in the bay next door hosing his car off.  I shouted to him, “I’m stuck in the car wash and can’t get out” He quickly turned away and averted his concentration to what must have been a big spot on his car; he thought I was crazy.

I walked around to the front of a convenience store that is attached to the car wash and banged on the window that had a “closed” sign on it.  No luck.  I ice skated back to my car and reconsider dialing 911 as I plunked back down inside my car.   I looked back and the sprayer gave no signs it was going to stop.

I took a deep breath and hit the gas; whatever lay ahead couldn’t be worse than hanging out in the car wash for someone to find me.  My car made it over the “stops”  and then slid sideways as it hit ice.  But I was free!  Ironically, as soon as I exited, the sprayer stopped.

As I headed to the office in West Fork, little soapy water spots froze all over my car, giving it a polka-dotted look!  The day warmed, the spots melted and I contemplated another car wash.  But the old- fashioned hose was looking pretty good to me!


1 comment »

  1. Sandra Easley says:

    Loved the story. Can hardly wait for the one you are doing this week.

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