I’m one of those guys who likes to swear that I will never turn into one of those guys.
It took only a couple of years to betray the promise, made at 19, to never be one of those guys who thinks combing his hair forward will stop a receding hairline in its tracks. Eventually, I even turned into one of those guys who wears Ed Hardy T-shirts.
When I’d see some guy towel-drying his car outside the car wash, I’d roll my eyes. I’d also squint a bit from the gleam. Those guys could be saving the world in those 40 minutes spent polishing their trophies.
And then in one afternoon – in one purchase – I did a bunch of things I’d sworn I’d never do. I bought a little red car. With leather seats. It’s a convertible. And it has no room for all the hobbies – kayaking, rescuing injured wildlife or building furniture – that I don’t have but always said I needed a lot of room for.
It was a year old and, the day I bought it, it was covered in a layer of car lot dust. It looked a lot like most other cars I’d driven.
But when I picked it up, it had been given the full treatment. It looked like a candied apple – except for a couple of water spots on the tailpipe.
I forgot that it was just a tailpipe. I wiped them off with my sleeve, but then I noticed a few more spots on the hood. A stop at Canadian Tire for some car wash soap and a couple of towels suddenly seemed like a good idea.
The next day, I returned to the store for a few more microfiber towels. Later that day, back again for some of that glossy stuff for the tires.
Every time I polished my car on the driveway, the blue sky turned dark. I started washing it daily. In between, I was taking it into the car wash for quick no-spot rinses.
By Week 3, I was keeping the car in the garage most of the time and riding my bike to Canadian Tire for car-product runs. I had enough cloth diapers to stitch together a car cover.
I’m not sure when I realized I was on a slippery slope of shine. When the lady at Staples asked for my I.D. when I came to the till with a six-pack of compressed air because I couldn't reach into the tiny recesses of the dash with a Q-tip? When the garage shelf came crashing down from the weight of waxes and detailing sprays? When I considered cancelling a vacation so I could afford to get the car completely covered in 3M film?
I’m hoping it’s just because it’s a new (to me) car. I’m trying to quit. I tore up the card that promises a free wash after every 10 washes. I’ve been parking under trees. I removed the Swiffer duster from the glove compartment.
I’ve decided to wash it on Saturdays. And only Saturdays. It’s now four days since the last wash. I don’t know if I’ll make it.