The Man in the White Hat

CAR WASHWhen you lose a loved one, they warn you that there are many “firsts”. They’re usually referring to the first Christmas, the first Easter, the first party without him/her, the first time you go to church alone.

And they are right. There are many firsts, and they just keep coming. It’s been seven months now, and with each step forward, there is an occasional step backwards to remind me of the man in the white hat, who did so much for me!

Sitting in my car, in a long, dark tunnel, water pounding on top of me, and all sides of me, I remember a time long ago.

“Lady! Lady! Push the GO button! Where?, I yell out of a partially opened window. Right there! Right next to you! Push it. You’ve got people behind you, lady! Oh man. I push the button. The light flashes a big green GO! And I sit.

“Lady, move a little to the left! the man gestured with his hands, pointing to a long metal track. Are you kidding? You want me to fit my tires onto that track? Ha!

“LADY! Move to the left! After two tries, the tires fit onto the track. Drops of sweat glisten in the sunlight as I smile at the attendant, so proud of my accomplishment! LADY! Put the car in neutral!! STOP! Put the car in neutral!

My hand shakes as I finally remember where neutral is, and I hear a clanking sound and suddenly, we’re off! My two toddlers in the back seat, yelling and screaming with delight as the Octopus strips slap at our soapy car. YAY! This is great, Mommy! Yay!! I hold back the tears and smile at them in the rear view mirror.

And so it is, I find myself today, after a two-day “courage vigil” deciding that, yes, 40 years later, I can do this! I can get this darned car washed. I can do this. I will not die. And, I will not tear up the tires.

There were three types: Express Wash for $5. Supreme Wash for $6 and Super-Duper Fabulous Wash for $7. I picked the Supreme Wash. I figured they probably don’t use soap in the Express Wash, and if you buy the Super-Duper Wash, attendants probably jump out of hiding to help you, and I have no idea what to tip them, so I can’t go there!

I lived to talk about it. The car looks beautiful. Sort of. I didn’t center it perfectly, so the first two-thirds look good; the last third, not so much.

The moral of the story: We are all born with special gifts and talents. We are all different. Some of us have unreasonable fears about the silliest things. I was talking to a woman last week who said she was afraid of throwing old bills away. She wasn’t sure what was important and what wasn’t. I thought to myself, oh brother, give me five minutes and I’ll have that all straightened out.

I will think twice before I make fun of someone else’s fears. I will remember that we were all put on this earth to help each other and to love one another. Oh, yeh, and I learned that there’s a place where you can take the car and they do the whole thing for you and you can sit and drink coffee in the waiting room, pretending like you’ve done it that way all your life!


About susansplace

Widowed in 2012, I am a mother and grandmother. Born in San Francisco, I now live in the town I grew up in: Mill Valley, California. I love nature photography. Just an amateur but that's OK! My goal: world peace. Got any ideas?
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6 Responses to The Man in the White Hat

  1. . . . bu then there’s that tipping problem again. I must blog about the tipping episode we had at Christmas in CO. When did tipping get to be entitlement? I missed that one. Glad you conquered the dragon, though.

  2. soundhealher says:

    Beautifully expressed!

  3. nancy says:

    You are a marvelous story teller! Yes, we all have silly fears and big fears for that matter. Nancy

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