Purslane Gets a Bath

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I learned how to take care of a car from my parents. They always instilled upon me the value of a vehicle and my responsibility in taking care of one. Early on I learned that you need to wash your car at LEAST once a year whether it needs it or not. And, in a family where we were always outdoors, traipsing through mud, woods and fish guts, we stuck with that once a year ritual. Now when my brothers started driving our car, I think they may have cleaned it up when they had a special date, but I’m not sure why they would want to build such high expectations into the cleanliness of our vehicles early on in a relationship. A partner needs to know that a King’s car is his/her castle, and it will be … and stay … filthy. And… we take great pride in that.

Now, it’s not that we don’t value a clean vehicle. We know it’s more sanitary. But, we just have sh*t to do. Most of it requires a vehicle, too. We have to haul boats, fishing tackle, kayaks, dogs, cats, kids and even move households in our cars. One time my brother Sammy moved my bedroom furniture to Memphis in a horse trailer. We use our vehicles….we don’t necessarily take care of them. When I was in college, I had a hand me down car from my Dad. It was a Ford Maverick, and we called it the possum-mobile because it sported a front license plate that said “Eat More Possum.” I suppose we could’ve taken it off, but it just added to the character of the vehicle. It had no air conditioning or heat. The front floor vent was stuck open, so, in the winter when it was cold, it was as if the AC was blowing right up your skirt. After I used it in college and bought my first car, my brother Sammy inherited it. That car went all over the place. After Sammy finished with it, Daddy sold it, and he saw it around a few times. It just wouldn’t quit running.

The last time I washed my car was right after my move down here, so I’m upping the anty on the 1 year car wash ritual. It’s been a little over 6 months. It was disgusting. And, of course, I’m officially declaring it spring this weekend, so kayak and hiking season has started. I will be dragging more mud, ooze and grassy crap into the car in the ensuing months. So, I decided to wash my car today. I thought about it a month ago, and I decided that it was not ripe yet. I did clean off some of the dog hair that was covering the front seat but couldn’t get it all with the cheap ass vacuum that the car wash on Perkins offered. I wanted to return to the stellar car wash in Denham Springs that I had used in the summer. I had fond memories of how easy it was to use and how beautiful my car was after I had cleaned it up. So, I drove to the Tropic Express on Hwy. 16. They call it the best car wash in the south, and it is. I made an event of it. I even got a Mocha for the road and brought my dog.

One of the most fascinating things about washing my car are the things that I find. When I sold my Camry last year, I cleaned it out and found a camera that had been missing for months. I also found a pair of $800 glasses that I had replaced the year before. You’d think those kinds of finds would encourage me to wash my car more frequently, but I kind of like the anticipation and the excitement that comes with unexpected finds. Today, I found a headband that has been missing ever since I started wearing headbands. I’ve torn the house apart looking for it, and it was right under the middle seat in the car. It’s like getting a new one, and those Sweaty Bands cost $17. So, I figure I made back what it cost to wash the car. The other thing I found was a key feature of my new car.

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When I bought that car last spring, I was really busy so I never took time to check out all of the features. I just took off and started running up and down the roads. Then I moved, and I just have not had time to care about my car. Because I have to carry all kinds of running clothes, yoga mats, dog equipment and outdoor gear, I’ve been putting baskets back there to hold all my stuff. I’ve stayed frustrated with the fact that I have nowhere to hide things. I noticed today that there were these little loops on the floor – one at the back and one at the front of the hatch area. I pulled the one at the bottom, and it didn’t open. I pulled the one at the front, and it opened up to a lovely little storage area. It was completely clean as I’ve never used it. I tried the one at the bottom again, but it wouldn’t budge. I remembered that I’d spilled some cane syrup back there when I moved, and I finally realized that it had dried and glued the compartment lid shut. So, I pulled and finally got it free. An even larger compartment that would hold my yoga mat, my lawn chair, my extra clothes, cleaning materials and some books materialized. OMG… this was so exciting!! I could now put things in my car without it being messy. I was so glad I decided to wash my car.

I used the energy from all this excitement to clean out the interior. I have no idea how I get coffee in the places I do. It was all over and under everything. There was even a Coffee Call cup under the back seat. It was a challenge to get the dog hair off everything, but I finally did. Ashok was not happy that she now has to ride in the back seat on a seat cover. It’s like she’s in prison on her tiny little black rug. I’m sure after a week or two, I’ll relax the rules, but for now, she knows the word “back”. She’ll just had to endure my new-found pride in my clean car.

I spent all afternoon cleaning my car which is probably why I don’t do it very often. When I do, I get carried away. It’s just so much fun to go from dirty to clean in such a short period of time. I stocked my trunk with insect repellant, band-aids, condoms (just kidding), sunscreen and all kinds of things that I’ll be needing this summer. I am ready to go and operate from Pursy’s hatch. Now, that it’s all clean, I could probably even sleep back there. I’m short enough. I might have to cram myself into a fetal position, but I could do it. I know I could. And, I know Daddy would be proud of that. It’d be another fine step in the direction of using our cars for everything under the sun.

Ashok's new pad

Ashok’s new pad

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