California Autos Examiner

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

I'm a car guy

I love driving in the rain (photo by Craig Jewell)

I’m a car guy. There is no denying that. I’ll give you an example. Last night I was outside, toting garbage to the curb. It was dark but the cold fluorescent glow from spiral bulbs in the garage spilled out into the driveway and reflected back a dusty hood. I couldn’t take it. I had to wash the car. Storm clouds gathered above my head and as I gathered my washing supplies a flash of light in the sky caught my attention. Was that lightning? In Redwood City? In May? I waited for a rumble of thunder, but heard none.

I began to spritz off the car with my Mr. Clean AutoDry carwash gun. Bam! Okay, that was definitely lightning. I love my car. It’s a Jaguar X-Type wagon. Let me tell you, a Jag wagon is a pretty rare bird. Maybe that’s part of the attraction? This year I finally succeeded in getting a mechanic to fix the air conditioning. It had been a long struggle to convince the dealer that something was wrong, but recently they cut into the line filter and found metal shavings: time for a new compressor! Having a cool car on a hot day makes it even easier to love! I soaped up my microfiber wash mitt. Even in the dark, I know all my car’s curves. Rumble! Now the storm is getting a little closer. But c’mon, its Redwood City…in May…How bad could it be? I broke out my Fireman's Friend Chamois and dried off my baby.

The lighting storm made me think about the Air France flight that went down this week. Then I started thinking about my friends who work at GM. Slowly, my mood was sinking. A few drops of rain began to fall and I didn’t like how they beaded on the hood. I decided to bring out the Zymol cleaner wax. The car’s hood was still a bit warm so I figured that if I applied the wax just right, it could dry in time. Besides, I really like the smell of Zymol. Is there a hint of coconut in there? I applied a perfectly thin layer that began to dry at once. I carefully waxed around the washer jets so that I wouldn’t get any residue in the nozzles. Rain drops were beginning to fall more frequently. I grabbed my microfiber towel and polished off the wax. With only the garage lights to guide me, I have to say it looked perfect. Finally, I could buff no more as the rain began to fall rapidly. I collected my supplies and put them away so that there would be no evidence of my late night antics.

When everything was done, I stood at the edge of my garage. Just under the eaves so that I wouldn’t get wet, but could still take everything in. I love it when it rains. I am originally from Oregon and I think that rain probably flows in my blood. I have a lot of memories of riding in my mom’s Chevy Malibu. The wipers would squawk loudly and little droplets of water danced along the side glass. I used to make believe that those droplets were sheep, climbing up a mountainside.

My dog began to accept the fact that there would be no walk around the block. The occasional rumble of thunder was enough to seal the deal and she went inside. Cars began to make a shushing sound as the drove by. Part of me wanted to hop in the Jag and go for a drive, just to watch the wipers work. Instead I contented myself to take it all in from my garage door’s point of view. The soft patter that the rain makes when it hits the gutters helps to mask my tinnitus. Being able to take in the beauty of it all without the high pitched whine that normally accompanies my waking hours is quite peaceful.

Water was now beading up on the Jag’s hood just the way I liked it. The air was so fresh and clean. I no longer felt down in the dumps anymore. I didn’t even have to drive anywhere; just being in the presence of my car was enough to lift my soul. I’m a car guy. There’s no denying that.

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