Often times, he would come out and inspect my work. If it wasn’t up to his ridged standards, he’d make me do it over and over until it was right.
Once, I didn’t rinse out one of his terry cloth washing towels enough. Apparently, there was a bit of microscopic grit caught in the fibers, which caused subtle swirls in the paint. A normal person would have been hard pressed to see them, but my dear old dad noticed right away.
“You don’t see that?” he screamed. “Look closer!”
I still have the scar on my cheek from where he pushed my face against the fender and the trim caught my soft 12-year old skin.
There was another memorable incident when I suggested we use the carwash at the corner gas station. Pop threw a fit. He was screaming about how the brushes would ruin the paint. I made the mistake of saying that lots of people use them, so they shouldn’t hurt anything.
“Anything, ANYTHING?!? I’ll show you ‘anything’,” he wailed.
He drove us down the street and I’m not sure why nobody from the station stopped him, but pushed me into the carwash and turned it on. I got out pretty fast without any real physical damage, though I was soaked and quite upset.
Perhaps it was karma and fortunately for me, he got into a car accident when I was 14. Bound to his wheelchair, he was no longer a threat. If he started to get aggressive, I’d just go upstairs or simply out run him.
Nonetheless and to this day, I still have issues washing and waxing my car. It brings back some pretty nasty memories, so I like to do it as infrequently as possible. And of course, after the early trauma, I’ve never been too keen on the auto carwashes, so I needed to find alternatives.
One of the first things I started doing was equipping my cars with bras From my experience, most of the stuff that dirties up your car or mars the paint comes from the front while driving. A nice fitting bra deflects or blocks rocks, bugs and various fluids that would otherwise mean the type of maintenance that I loathe.
I also started using car covers. At first, it was those generic one-size-fits-most covers, but I soon realized that a custom fit cover kept the car cleaner and again meant fewer washings. I have a couple of ideas as to why the form-fitting covers are better at keeping the grime away. The first is fairly straightforward – the tighter, contour-hugging fit keeps filth from slipping up under the gaps. My second idea as to why is quite basic too - you get what you pay for. Whenever I buy something and try to cut a corner, that is, go with the cheaper option, I get a raw deal. So, naturally the cheaper car cover is going to fail and the more expensive is the way to go.
Hopefully, none of you had to deal with a jerk father like I had, but I do hope that my tips about ways to keep your car clean without having to wash it all that often make your life just a bit easier.