So there’s this strange, kabuki theater that plays itself out every time I go to the local drive-yourself-thru carwash. It’s been going on for eons.
I roll my car onto the rails, guided by a helpful person. Like one of those guys who signals jet pilots lining up on an aircraft carrier, the car wash attendant vaguely motions for me to ooch my vehicle slightly left or right. I follow their direction. Boy or girl, they nod positively and smile, like I’m a baby holding a plastic steering wheel who has successfully eaten his Gerber’s Prune Purée.
There’s always a second, useless thespian in this odd pantomime: The Hose Guy.
I don’t why Hose Guy works at my car wash. Just as I’m inching forward, H.G. takes his garden hose and spritzes the front of my car. Or, sometimes, the air in front of my car. The amount of water that escapes his nozzle is less than an ounce. It’s aimed at particularly nothing. He could simply spit and save the water.
Why is he there?
No rank stripes or bars on his dark blue jumpsuit and matching cap, he wiggles the nozzle to allow the equivalent of a perfume mist to hit my vehicle, which is dirtier than a Palmdale oven and covered with prairie mud. My windshield attracts splattered dead moths the size of flattened Thanksgiving turkeys.
From the driver’s side, you can still see their damning moth eyes, frozen in an accusing death stare. Does the Hose Guy aim his hose at the moth carcasses? No. He just makes an effeminate, operatic gesture, like a lazy barber dusting off a hair left on your shoulder.
Don’t get me wrong. For an automated car wash, this place is pretty good. And as True Summer approaches, and the Santa Clarita flirts with the mercury evaporating after reaching five digits, one of my favorite places on Earth is the drive-through carwash. I sit in my car, A/C blowing, slowly chugging along as foam and suds are merrily splashed by great robots. Brushes roll and remove the mortal veils of a thousand bugs. Huge cannons of air dry the car.
By the time I’m out the other side, my car is squeaky clean and colder than Nancy Pelosi’s heart. I’ve got a monthly pass. If I could figure a way to teach my car to just navigate its way to the start of the car wash, I’d go through all July day, dozens and dozens of times, over and over again. In fact, I could skip owning a home. I could just live in my car, sleeping during the miserable, hot Santa Clarita days while car, on autopilot, just keeps returning for more cooling baths.
My automobile at least would be squeaky clean, if not rusty.
Would the Car Wash Hose Guy still give it the imaginary squirt before each visit?
I mean him no ill will.
But it’s like telling your kid to wash his hands before dinner and he just holds them out in front and lightly blows on them.
It’s like vacuuming. With a feather duster. Or brushing your teeth. With your tongue.
Which is better than someone else’s tongue.
Why is the Car Wash Hose Guy always young and virile? Couldn’t this position be better handled by someone six train stations past elderly? I mean, actually, they’re not even squirting your car. They’re pretend-squirting, and rather half-heartedly I might add. I’d like to see a big Lazy Susan (no relation to the nickname we fondly bestowed upon former Signal editor, Susan Starbird). On the big circular wooden device would be eight little old ladies in rocking chairs. Every time a new car pulled up to enter the automobile laundry, a great-great-grandmama would just pucker up and give the front bumper a threatening raspberry. New car pulls up. Spin the Lazy Susan. A new, fresh and spittle-regenerated octogenarian blasts an impoverished waft of iced-tea-and-Dentu Crème-scented spit on your license plate.
Are there other jobs for someone who’s had a life’s career as a Car Wash Hose Guy? Like being a half-hearted greeter at Walmart?
“Hi, Wel-…” and that’s all you’d get as you waltz into the megastore entrance.
A Car Wash Hose Guy could be a doorman at the Hyatt, opening the door just a crack as guests enter, then just walking away.
They could work in Santa Clarita’s booming adult film industry, making porno movies that last but three seconds and end with one short and off-key saxophone note and a disinterested sigh.
John Boston is a local car wash monthly pass owner and, in a sad indictment on our valley, recipient of most of Santa Clarita’s writing awards.