[I didn’t have time to write a haiku, so I wrote this.]
Outside, signs instruct me:
“Not responsible for damage to
bug deflectors or other plastic.”
I picture some kind of zany rodeo:
bucking cars and shards of plastic
eventually of interest to archaeologists.
Through the slot under
the partially raised door
I see runners and jean cuffs
shuffling back and forth
on a wet concrete floor.
Strong variegated hissing
emanates: a huge snake
on a long smoke break.
“If you feel uncomfortable
making the entry turn
an attendant will be happy —”
How happy I wonder.
Will he use signal flags
to land me on the carrier deck?
or just shoulder me aside,
vault insultingly into the saddle
and drive in cavalierly?
The door rises; the show begins:
the car ahead enters,
allowing me to negotiate the entry turn
and see the line of four vehicles,
various kid/staff in charge
standing, talking while
the vehicles move ahead;
everything is wet:
the floor gleams kaleidescope
The van at the head exits;
everything lurches forward.
I find myself sitting near
the exit door, writing this.
The roar and music of
car sanitation and shining:
“Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”
takes me with Dorothy
to the Wash and Brushup.
My black Honda with its diet
of muddy roads and trailer hauling
is getting a new dress for visitors.
I wait for Cinderella to emerge
from the dancing minstrations of
faeries, the boys of The Wash:
low slung baggy pants
wet runners — the uniform.
A roar like
a jet revving for takeoff:
another car is coming through;
mine is still stuck at the gate,
too grubby for quick treatment.
When I gave the order for
“Inside, out, and wax,
clean driver’s door,”
the guy give me a “No problem,”
and perhaps a little promotion,
like the waiter who leads you to believe
your selection from the menu
is inspired; then he smiles and
hops to another exciting challenge.
I couldn’t do it:
pretend car washing was
a great career choice.
I couldn’t give cleaning windows
and dashboards a career commitment.
Going to that job would not make me
get up every day, but they do
— and there’s a kind of sainthood in that.
They must have some joy here:
What is it? cameraderie? love of cars?
security, a wage? tips? community?
performing in front of an audience?
Air fresheners offered:
“new car, lemon, green apple,
cherry, tropical, strawberry, pina colada.”
I notice “cinnamon” is
taped over with masking tape.
What if I get pulled over and
Pina colada reeks out at the constable?
I pass on the sir freshener.
My Honda is prepping for
jet takeoff mode. Loud jets rev.
The check list: flaps, ailerons —
complete: ready for lift off:
Squawk: “Niner Niner Zero Tango Foxtrot
We have a go for take off
on runway Two Niner
Have a good flight.
One of the guys looks over at me
writing here as he pulls up.
He is puzzled, like some monk
watching Augustine silent reading,
unable to discern what the hell —
I hardly recognize the gleaming
vaguely familiar vehicle which —
Oh well: off to see the wizard.