When I first wrote about Old Granny, she was old. Now she is two years older (and even dirtier). I had to revisit my loving tribute to Old Granny today as I have some news to share in the next week or two about her. So why is Old Granny so dirty? I blame the metal groove industry…
My Old Granny is dirty. Really, really dirty.
Before I go any further, I should reassure you that I am not speaking about a beloved MeeMaw. Old Granny is the name that Lucy gave to my minivan six years ago. It was so fitting it stuck immediately.
Old Granny is the type of car that inspires kids to write WASH ME across her back window on a weekly basis. She’s just that perpetually dirty. I pat myself on the back at least once a month for having the foresight waaaay back in 2000 to buy an Odyssey the color of dirt. (Officially it’s “Mesa Beige Metallic” but that’s just fancy marketing talk). It camouflages the true nature of grime present very effectively. If my car were white it would make people gag by looking 200% dirtier than it appears right now–and that’s just the outside!
Every time we step into the garage I have to remind my children not to touch Old Granny with anything but their bare hands as they are trying to get in and buckle up. The truth is, if they accidentally rub up against the outside of the door they are going to have to march right back inside to change because there will be a noticeable brown smudge on their clothing. (No, I’m not kidding, and yes it has happened.)
You might wonder why I just don’t wash the thing. I mean, gross! You don’t even have to pull out a bucket, soap, and a hose if you are truly that lazy. (I am totally that lazy, of course). Nowadays it only takes a few minutes and a few dollars to go through a mechanical car wash. Heck, they are everywhere! You can even do it at most gas stations by picking the “add car wash” option when you are filling up, right? WRONG!!!!
Well wait, you *could* do that if you were not me.
I acknowledge that it doesn’t take that long. I know it’s not expensive. I admit that all of my regular gas stations offer car washes.
SO WHAT GIVES, PIGPEN?
I am deathly afraid of driving my Old Granny into those metal things that pull your car through the car wash when you put your car in neutral. I’m talking phobia levels of terror here.
I’m sure most of you would agree, those things are completely scary. I mean, I can’t see my actual wheels when I’m driving. How am I supposed to maneuver my giant car tire into that teeny tiny slot of metal? If I don’t hit the center of that groove, my minivan jumps and horrible noises are made of tire rubber on metal…and that’s if I’m lucky! Sometimes I drive on top of the metal thingy and Old Granny slopes up then lurches down or to the side like a boat caught in the perfect storm. You know that can’t be good for her undercarriage!
But just like trying to guess a CAPTCHA on the internet, it always takes several tries to line up the wheel just right. My problem is that after each attempt my anxiety level rises exponentially and before you know it, I desperately just want to throw the minivan in reverse and run away.
Ha! Good luck! There is no retreat from the stupid gas station car wash because there is ALWAYS someone behind me at that point. If I’ve tried to line my tire up to the groove at least 5 times and failed (and that’s a low-ball number), they are probably even honking. I AM TRAPPED.
Side note: Why do they think honking is helpful? Nobody is more distressed about the situation than the person sitting in the puddle of tears desperately trying to get her stupid minivan tire into the metal thingy. Honking really doesn’t magically hone my skills or make me think, “Oh, haha! I was just joking around before. I guess I’ll just do it right this time!”
So, the only time I have a shot at getting Old Granny clean is when my husband is driving her without me. (At this point, I get the cold sweats when approaching a car wash that has that metal groove even when I’m not the one driving. I’ve been told I’m not as adorable and lovable when I’m screeching hysterically. It’s better if this whole thing takes place without me around.) But my husband can just take the minivan sometime when he’s driving around on the weekend and get the thing washed, right? WRONG!!!!
My husband hates driving Old Granny. He would rather tote an extra child in the trunk or bungee cord them to the roof of his sedan than take my minivan. He finds Old Granny gross and smelly, and he shuns her.
Old Granny actually *is* dented because I tend to run into things when I’m in reverse– and sometimes in other gears. She’s had food ground into her carpet. Numerous drinks have been spilled and absorbed by her loving floorboard. One young boy in carpool once inquired about the nature of her unique aroma by asking, “Why does this car smell like an old sock?” (“Don’t worry. You get used to it” was my reply.)
But like so many old gals, she gets the job done. I actually adore that she’s imperfect. There is nothing that anyone can do to her that hasn’t been done before. I am a worrier by nature, but worry has no place when you are with sweet Old Granny.
If you see a parking space that’s a tight squeeze, no problem! Old granny will pull right in without a care. I don’t have to worry about door dings. Old Granny laughs in the face of door dings. She is MADE of door dings. My husband likes to park miles away from the door of any establishment. He says it’s for exercise but it’s really because he doesn’t want his car scratched! And people say *I’m* the uptight one!!
A child accidentally spilled his big gulp? No problem. We’ll suck it out with a wet/dry vac when we get home and be on with our day. You don’t have to worry about stains in Old Granny. I don’t even know what color Old Granny’s original flooring was, but it’s kind of dark grey now. My husband, on the other hand, won’t even allow BOTTLED WATER to be consumed in his car. It is the ultimate snack and drink free zone. He almost stroked out when I drove his car one night and he found a Starbucks cup in the cup holder the next day. Hey, it’s not my fault he has a very un-Old Granny like built in GPS that can locate Starbucks all over town.
So, partly because he thinks that Old Granny is gross (she is) and partly because he doesn’t trust that I will live up to his rigid car behavior standards (I won’t), he never simply switches cars with me on the weekend. Like a totally normal person, I remain too terror-stricken to attempt the local car wash. Thus, Old Granny remains the dirty old girl that she is.
They say the best way to cure a phobia is to do whatever scares you until the phobia is gone, but hello…that doesn’t work with a car washing phobia! Going through the car wash is how I developed the phobia in the first place! Duh! Stupid science.