I was driving past the cheap car wash I pass every day when a car turned in front of me headed into the parking lot. This is not a rare occurrence as this particular car wash is consistently full. Even on a day when rain is starting to come down, you will see several cars there.
What was strange was this particular car. The bright red Honda had suffered a terrible fate. In fact, this car was roughly half of the length it should be. The front end of the particular car had been smashed, the headlights jutting out from the rest of the body. The hood was folded under and this car was void of any semblance of a front bumper. Yet, there the man was, turning into the car wash.
Instinctively, I wondered why a man would bother to wash this car. It was an inch away from being crushed into a cube at a local scrapyard. It seems that at this point, the least of the man’s concerns would be the fine layer of dirt that had accumulated on his crunched up mode of transportation.
Then I thought again. Maybe this was not as crazy as it seemed. This man had a car that, despite all appearances, was running at least enough to get him to a car wash. He was just taking care of what was his.
In this crazy consumerist society, this man had dared to defy mankind’s instinctual want for newer and better. Every day, people look at what they have, and then throw it away for something different just because it has a tiny flaw. Here was this man, ignoring a gigantic flaw. I am sure this man’s friends all say to him, “Arthur, you need to get a new car. That one is terrible.”
And what does Arthur say back? He does not do like any of us would do. No, Arthur says, “Oh really? It’s terrible? Well, you guys can drop dead. Leave me alone, I’m headed to the car wash.”
Seeing a man take care of this car the way he was made me feel very guilty. Here I am in my perfectly good 1992 Ford Explorer (perfectly good being a very relative term) and yet I have not bothered to wash it in months. This man was taking care of a care that looks like the end of a crash test better than I am taking care of mine.
I should take my car in for a good cleaning, I thought. Of course, I know exactly what will happen. The second I pull out of the car wash, it will begin to rain completely negating all of the effort it took to sit there while a gigantic machine cleaned my car.
That’s when I started to get mad. Who is this guy, trying to show me up? What, he thinks he is better than me just because he takes care of a car that should be put out of its misery? He is completely delusional, thinking a car wash will, in any way, benefit that car. You know what would benefit that car? A trip to a body shop and new bumper! I wanted to roll down the window and scream “You’re not that big of a deal, Arthur! Just stop acting like a hot-shot!”
Still fuming, I looked back one last time in my rearview to see the man get out of his car and pull out his phone. It appeared he was not taking his car in for a wash. He was just calling for a ride.