It’s quite a ride

I’m not a fan of midway rides.
Ferris wheels make me want to vomit—just at the top when you come over the edge and the world disappears. Roller-coasters are just too hard on my equilibrium, now especially but even when I was young.
I pretended to enjoy the “Round Up” at the Emo Fair and stood in my space with the grip of death on the bars on either side of me and attempted to look cool, but I wasn’t fooling anyone.
I found the “Tea Cups” tolerable—unless I went on with my brother, who insisted on spinning them madly. I did enjoy the “Swings,” though, because I felt like I was flying; they were okay.
When I was little, I thought any carousel was more than worth the price of admission and jumped at the opportunity to sit on those beautifully-carved and painted horses as they went up and down and round and round. I imagined the horses would break free and go for a gallop in the country—the way they did in “Mary Poppins.”
In fact, I would happily ride a carousel today given the chance.
Having said all that, the most exciting outing for me was, and always has been, the automatic car wash. I know that may sound a tad lame, and you may be considering a sarcastic comment or two, but give the automatic car wash a moment of consideration.
You drive your car in through the big door and it shuts behind you, and then magic begins. Water gushes out from all sides and you can pretend you are on the inside of Niagara Falls, pressed up against the rock while water rushes over you.
The idea is quite exhilarating and has the air of a secret hideout, anonymity, invisibility—all good things for an introvert such as myself.
The early automatic car washes used a series of brushes to clean the car, where the car was moved forward on a conveyor system. That particular car wash has been around since the late 1930s.
Early car washes of that design were thought to damage paint jobs, but the bristles and fabric used now are considered quite safe.
When I rode in the car when I was kid for this type of car wash, I felt like I was a microscopic character and the brushes were an electric toothbrush. I laughed from the beginning of the car wash ride to the end.
Small things amuse small minds I suppose could apply here, but I don’t care. I can still see my dad’s arm on the back of the front seat; he turning to look at me with his broad smile. He got it.
Currently, many car washes are touchless, using a high-pressured water-spraying system and specialized soaps. And if you get the ultimate plus package at the car wash, you will get coloured soap.
What could be better than coloured soap? You can pretend you’re on the inside of a candy floss machine and who doesn’t like cotton candy?
I don’t like cotton candy, but I like the idea of its weightlessness, airiness, and colourfulness. That’s a lot of “-ness.”
I know times have changed, and a lot of kids have been to “Disney World” and have experienced far more exciting adventures than a trip through the automatic car wash. But it was a big deal for me when I was little and by virtue of memories, it is a big deal now.
I laugh every single time I drive my car through the car wash and then when I arrive at the other end and enjoy a high-powered blow dry, my car is clean and fresh and ready to take on the streets’ grime.
And so am I.
Give it a try the next time your car is dirty, and just sit back and enjoy the ride.
wendistewart@live.ca

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