Everything Else: When Was the Last Time You Washed Your Car? 05.23.2013

Editor’s Note:  This is an occasional in a series of Four Courses blog posts that have nothing to with food, but have to do with everything else.  Well, they could fall under the category of “place” or “talk” which are two of the courses.  If you don’t like this turn of events, keep reading.  If you do like it, keep reading.  The blogger may choose to throw in a foodie tid-bit regardless of the topic.  Grab a glass of wine, enjoy. 

Yesterday evening my kids – 5-year-old girl and 3-year-old boy – demanded to wash the car.  Demanded.   I had no idea what kind of production it was going to be, but I’ve been meaning to get the car washed for six months so I went with it.   I am happy to report that it was a seamless operation that bordered on joyful with a hint of deep euphoria (on my part). 

I like to outsource everything and cannot remember the last time I washed a car.  It may have been in the early 80s.  I’m not kidding.  My brother and I used to wash our family car every week with a bucket of soap water made from Tide detergent.  That’s right folks:  our family Datsun was washed with Tide powder detergent and kitchen sponges.  We’d let the water run endlessly, completely unaware of the words “waste” or “water bill”, as we lathered up the car and spent way too long hosing it down.  I just have two words for this memory:  good times.

I don’t know what it is about washing the family car with your sibling(s) but it’s fun.  I don’t remember having conversations with my brother during the washing of the car; just working and feeling as if we were doing something important together.  It was the family’s mode of transport, after all.  And we lived in Houston, Texas, where you cannot go anywhere except down the block without a car.

And I saw all of this in my kids yesterday.  My daughter wanted solely to be responsible for the wheels (who takes the wheels??), my son wanted to wash the windows he could not reach.  They took responsibility with pure relish and anticipation. It was a good moment.

I am prone sometimes to say no to them, fearing that a task would take too long and wouldn’t it just be easier if I did it myself?  Sure, of course.  But deprive them of this pleasure?  Not take advantage of free child labor?  Cross your fingers they demand to wash the car next week.

About the photos:  When we came to America, my dad would take pictures of everything and everyone, and I have inherited this practice from him.  Some of his photos, however, are downright goofy.  For example, we would be at Sears and he would ask me to stand in front of a mannequin.  That was it.  That was the photo.  Why?  I have no idea.  So we have all these photos of my brother and me with and in our various cars.  We look incredibly badass in the photos but they are now hilarious.  In the photos here, I’m assuming my dad said, “Hey kid, pose with the Datsun!”  And I chose that particular pose.  I know it's a lot to take in.

Another awesome pose with the Datsun.

What I was eating at the time: Are you ready to be horrified?  Good.  Here we go:  During this period of washing cars in my life, I loved ketchup sandwiches.  I would take two pieces of Wonder bread and spread ketchup in the middle.  And if I was really hungry, I would slip in a slice of American cheese.  Sigh. Is there anything better than processed cheese? Yeah, I know there is, but still.  I was a latch-key kid if that helps to explain anything.

Happy eating and living, everyone.  And remember:  do not wash your car with Tide powder detergent.

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