It's a scene right out of the old Robin Leach show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. A man spends $350 to get the exterior of his car washed. It's the kind of story that just makes you hate the excessive, luxuriant manner and wasteful attitude of the well to do. However, if you examined what was going on with a keener eye, you would not see a painstakingly detailed vehicle. You would not witness the use of any fancy creams or imported carnuba waxes. No soft-as-a-baby's-bottom chamois cloth. No fancy, specially purified spring water that had recently cascaded down from an alpine spring. No. The folks doing the washing (a middle-aged man and his young daughter) used nothing more than a bucket of soapy water, a couple of old rags, and a garden hose. I can anticipate your next thought already. Ahh, it must have been one of those charity-type car washes and the man was so touched by the cause du jour that he made a substantial, heart-felt donation. Well, you couldn't be more wrong, well unless that charity happened to be the local windshield repair shop and the man just happened to be me. Let me tell you the story of the expensive car wash.
My daughter loves to wash the car with me. Actually I do all of the car washing and she splashes and plays with the hose and the soapy water. You have never heard such giddy squeals of happiness in all of your life. She would probably tell you that "washing" the car with me is one of her favorite activities. Well, we washed the car the other day and my little one asked if she could do the final rinse. After spraying herself from head to toe, a little bit of water accidentally hit the car, so she figured that her work was done. She then asked if she could put the windshield wipers back in place (they had been raised up to allow access to the full windshield). As she was lowering one of the wipers down, the blade came off in her hand and the wiper arm smacked into the windshield. Two "star-shaped" cracks immediately appeared and then two long cracks quickly worked their way across the windshield.
Now, $350 later, I have a new windshield and a car that is at least somewhat cleaner than it was before the episode occurred (although, go figure, it is still covered with soap residue). I wanted to be angry, to get all steamed up, but it was a fluke accident. It could have very easily happened to me. This one was easy to let go with a smile and a phooey, and it certainly helped that the repair shop folks were great. Hey, I also got a blog out of it, so the incident has paid for itself already (or not).