fishing for words

(and tossing out random thoughts)

Baby you can wash my car

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Can you tell me what happened to the national habit of washing one’s vehicle yourself? I finally got the chance two days ago – meaning the rain finally let up in here in sunny California – to give my new-to-me Honda Accord its first washing and waxing. While in my usual manner I was focused on truly detailing my car, my mind had time to wander off on its own and found myself pondering the esoteric idea of the archetypal American neighborhood of the 1950s and ‘60s, fostered by my earliest memories and probably more strongly influenced by pop culture. 

Washing one’s car can extend beyond the simple cleaning of your conveyance. It forces me outside, as a rule on those days when the sky is blue and the sun is shining. Whilst I am known to be perhaps a bit too fastidious in the washing of a chunk of metal that barrels down the road, I find it to be somewhat of a relaxing task that brings little burden to the brain. A sort of meditation. In years gone by – even in my lifetime – it was be part of a neighborhood’s social goings-on. I’m sure it still does in a few places.

Do you remember those sunny Saturdays when almost every father on the block was out in his driveway polishing his Corvair or Beetle or Impala? Greetings were exchanged. Cars were shared and inspected. In between vacuuming the interior and hosing down the exterior, kids would get a quick squirt from the hose. The good old day, huh?


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