There are unspeakable atrocities of terror that infiltrate our society on a daily basis: the plunging economy, the moral deprivation, the fact that you can still rent "Showgirls" at Family Video... Terror, it seems, finds the most minute cracks in our moral fiber and slowly leaks in, kind of like that Gorilla Spit foam we used last winter, along with six rolls of duct tape to weatherproof our house.
But I have seen terror, complete and utter terror, terror with no escape, terror with no relief, terror with no hope for deliverance...okay maybe it wasn't that dramatic, but it was pretty darn scary because on Thursday I got trapped in a carwash.
I've never trusted automatic carwashes. I'm an old-school kind of girl and kind of claustrophobic, so the idea of driving into a small dark cave where superpowered streams of water are going to be fired at me behind a thin veil of glass and steel causes me just a slight bit of unrest. Besides, when you drive in there's all that clanging and crashing and you're never really sure whether or not you are in the right place or with the next bypass of the ginormous water gun you might possibly have the top or side of your car ripped off in a tragic automotive hygiene mishap.
Nevertheless, Thursday it was beyond my control. A couple of trips down mud roads causing zero visibility out of all my windows except for the windshield and the fact that I was wearing work clothes led me to the LaserWash.
It started out fine. I pulled in until the light blinked and told me to stop. The ginormous water guns began powering up and gave me a presoak. It was during the soap cycle that I noticed a strange grinding noise within the confines of my carwash cave. It sounded like Fran Drescher with a head cold caught in a vice. I tried to ignore it, but I immediately knew that something was amiss and I had seen enough disaster movies to know that something horrible was imminent. Flashes of The Poseidon Adventure, Titanic, and the first installment of DieHard flashed through my mind. I tried to breathe deeply in an attempt to calm myself, unfortunately the carwash was one of those that has the automatic door on one end thus cutting the ventilation factor to next to nothing and breathing deeply resulted in what I still believe might be a slight case of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The grating groaning sound continued to get worse through the soaping and the high powered rinse. At this point I was paralyzed by fear and a little high from the exhaust fumes. This was not the way I wanted to go out...crushed to death by a ginormous water gun and/or suffocated by carbon monoxide fumes from own car. I thought about backing out, but there was a line of people behind me and I didn't think my Dodge Caliber could pull off a Gravedigger and drive right over the top of them.
It was the triple foam that brought about the beginning of the end. I always enjoy the triple foam. It's like mousse for my car and I imagine my car kind of feels like she's at a spa when the triple foam kicks in. I was enjoying the kaleidoscope of colors gently wafting down my windows, getting kind of used to the exhaust fumes pushing me to a really happy place when there was a loud bang and everything, except the foam, stopped. Then this alarm, reminiscent of the Sci-Fi "intruder alert" alarm starts going off. At this point there is a mounting pile of triple foam on the hood of my car, my ears are starting to hurt from the alarm and I'm pretty sure there is a talking lavender unicorn in the passenger seat thanks to the exhaust fumes. I'm afraid to open my door and run, I can't drive through because the huge ginormous water gun is in front of me and the door is down, and I can't make it over the hood of the car behind me to pull off my Sunday, Sunday, Sunday monster truck moves. So I did what any educated, claustrophobic mother would do. I asked the lavender unicorn what she thought I should do, but she was busy talking on the phone to her agent... so I started honking my horn on the off beat of the alarm sound. It took me a couple of times to get it right but once I got it going it worked out pretty well.
By this time there was a Mt. Everest of triple foam on my hood, I'm in a state of panic, the alarm/horn alternating rhythm, although entertaining is obviously not working, and the lavender unicorn has just worked out a deal to be the next Bond girl. This is when the car wash attendant came running into the bay. He looked about as qualified to fix the situation as I felt and I felt pretty darn confident when he began patting himself down either looking for a gun to shoot the possessed monster that was holding me hostage and attempting to kill my car by way of triple foam asphyxiation or he was looking for a cell phone to call someone who knew how to fix the thing. I wondered what would happen if we had to wait for someone to come and help us...eventually my car would be completely submerged in triple foam which I was pretty sure couldn't be good for the paint job and would probably really push the lavender unicorn over the edge...
The triple foam would then spread to the parking lot and eventually the street stopping traffic. It would follow the main traffic byways and veins and eventually would take over the world. It would be like a horrific M. Night Shyamalan movie...only without the Academy Award nomination.
And then, it was over. The attendant had jiggled a hose or tweaked a wire and it was moving and working. The lavender unicorn informed me that she might possibly seek legal action against me, the ginormous water gun stopped sounding like the Nanny with a head cold and the high powered rinse did away with the mountain range of triple foam. The garage door lifted and the sun came shining into the windshield of my car causing the lavender unicorn to explode into five million tiny shards of glitter...It was beautiful.
I reflected on my brush with death, once I came into my full mind again after driving about 10 miles down the interstate with my windows open. Suddenly the sky seemed bluer, the air, fresher, and I had a sudden zest for life. I was going to start giving back more, I was going to appreciate my friends and their diversity. I was going to live more of life because I had just met death, head on, in the LaserWash.
And with my new resolve and my VERY clean car I rolled up my window an struck out with new determination that would last until I turned my heater on and blobs of triple foam shot out all over me and the interior of my car...