I never went to Disneyland as a kid. I'm sure I wanted to, but I lived in New Jersey and California was a long ways away. By the time I had my own kids, the appeal had long worn off. But as an adult, when my young family was down in L.A. and within shouting distance, we figured we might as well take the kids there. As you can imagine, the high ticket price and long lines and dubious attractions (though I did like the Haunted House and the nighttime fireworks) and tired, hungry, whining kids confirmed my suspicion that all in all, it’s not worth it.
But yesterday, I experienced a sensational ride that far-surpassed anything Disneyland has to offer. With an $11 ticket price and no line. Yes, it was the automated car wash. In my young adult days, washing my own car was a mostly-fun ritual every month or so, but as life got busier, as it does, we started farming it out, as we do. My go-to place had some 40 workers, mostly Latinx immigrants, at the gas station and on one hand, I’m sure they were paid less than they deserved and on the other, I’m sure they needed whatever they got paid. So I went with that mixture of supporting them and supporting a broken system.
And then, last month, that gas station closed down. I scoured the Internet for alternatives and read about services that could come to your home and do the job for $200. Then I remembered the gas station on 19th and Lincoln had an automatic car wash and recalled enjoying sitting in the car while those big brushes enveloped you. So off I went and how I wished the grandkids where with me! It’s really quite a feeling— and a little bit scary— to have the tri-color water descend and feel like you’re inside some kind of diving bell, surrounded on all sides by water and those brushes like threatening creatures trying to get at you. Some moving belt moves you back and forth, the water comes in waves or mist or sprinkles, the sounds thunder and whoosh and whisper and then the hot air starts blowing. Quite a multi-sensory experience— and the end, your car that had been attacked by pigeons when you left it parked under a tree, emerges squeaky-clean. What a bargain!
So next time you’re bored and need some sensational experience to perk you up, may I suggest the car wash? And take the kids.