Everyone knows that heading out to the carwash is supposed to be a good time. How can I be making it up? There’s even a song about it.
You can imagine my dismay then, when yesterday, late in the sunny afternoon, my jaunt to the local car washery was marred by a minivan-driving woman’s Obnoxious Teenaged Fat-Arsed Daughter* (OTFAD).
So, it being a sunny afternoon, I found myself fifth in line to have my car soaped and hosed to a pleasing shine. While the first car was in the hosing station, I waited to see how long the routine takes. It was around 5 minutes. As there was no one behind me, and the lane to approach the carwash was well defined with curbs and a single point of entry, I decided that for the subsequent cars, after pulling up to the correct position, I would leave my car off for the 15 minutes it would take the other three cars to go through, thus saving
- The world from the fumes of 15 minutes worth of idling
- The fuel from 15 minutes worth of idling
- The noise pollution of 15 minutes of car idling
- Boredom that comes from waiting for 5 minutes, rolling up 10 feet, then waiting for 5 minutes, then rolling up 10 feet, etc.
I chose instead to sit with the car off, the windows open, knitting for 15 minutes. It was a nice afternoon, and I was enjoying myself immensely until a white minivan containing a woman and her OTFAD pulled up behind me with three cars still ahead of me in line for their washes.
All was well until the first of the three cars pulled into the hosing area. The next car pulled up to the front of the line, and punched in his code in anticipation of his turn, while the car behind him (who had been turning his engine off during washes) dutifully crept up behind him, then turned his car off again. I, being parked with my car off, kept knitting.
The lady in the minivan honked briefly, a quick note in case I wasn’t paying attention. I did nothing. She honked again, slightly longer this time, in case I didn’t realize she was honking at me. I looked at her in the rearview and shrugged.
Seconds passed. I finished my round, and looked up the u-shaped, curb-enforced lane leading to the carwash. Another car had pulled up behind the minivan. At this point, the woman’s OTFAD got out of the minivan and came over to my window.
“Excuse me,” she said, “could you move up a little please?”
“Why?” I countered, “we’re just going to wait another ten minutes in any case.”
“Well, it’s going to be your turn soon, and you have room.”
“Yes, but there’s plenty of room** behind the end of the line, and as I said, no matter where your car is, we’re still 10 minutes away from being able to get into the car wash. What difference does it make if I move up 10 feet or not?”
At this point she made that fantastic half-sigh, half-“Krrrrhhhhh!” noise teenagers excel at while rolling her eyes, and stomped back towards the minivan while gesticulating and yelling back at her mother the results of her conversation.
For the remainder of the 8 minutes until I punched in my own wash code, she sat, sulking, in the minivan and ranting. (Note: She could well have moved on topic-wise, but since her mother did honk curtly at me again about two minutes later, it seems reasonable to assume it was about my stubborn refusal to turn the car back on and pull up those fifteen goddamn feet, jeez, what is my problem?)
The rest passed without incident. I got my car washed, drove off, no one flipped anyone the bird. In spite of this, I am unreasonably angry about the fact that someone would feel strongly enough about fifteen feet on a closed road (seriously; there was no way anyone could cut in, even if they wanted to) that they would get out of their vehicle and try to convince me to move.
I’ve also learned that I dislike confrontation even more than I had suspected. No one likes arguing (for real arguing I mean; I love sophistry and fun-debate) but my hands were shaking by the time I got to the keypad.
I’m trying to keep Eleanor Roosevelt in mind here; I have no doubt that I was not unreasonable in my actions. I shouldn’t allow some OTFAD and her impatient mother to fill me with anger and frustration for the drive home, especially when, after all, I “won”, if such a statement may be made. (Then again, since I was upset, I guess I didn’t.)
* Note: I am not trying to imply over the course of the story that the daughter’s fat ass has anything to do with her being obnoxious. I’m fairly certain the two are unrelated. I just felt that “obnoxious teenaged daughter” wasn’t quite enough detail — after all, isn’t the general assumption that most teenaged daughters are obnoxious?
** By my estimate, at least 15 car lengths; the gas station had clearly provisionned well for sunny days.