Monday, March 14, 2005

Why I'm Going to Hell: reason # 4,297*

Once again, I found myself spending the weekend in the company of a particularly nasty viral strain. My head and chest are filled with an eldritch effluent typically depicted in horror films as either extraterrestrial or supernatural in origin. Tiny miners chisel away at my joints with pickaxes. My lymph nodes have capitulated and begun hatching an escape plan. My eyeballs hurt.

Nevertheless, it was from either a madness of being confined to the house or a biblically-forbidden love of my vehicle that I decided that I must wash my car. The recent week has been typical of March in Minnesota: 40 one day, below freezing and snowing the next, 50 the day after that. People think that I have been out off-roading, judging by the massive splotches of mud strewn up the sides and over the roof of my car. And it got that way while parked.

Normally, I would have taken my car to the place where it's dragged down a conveyor belt through a series of big, sudsy, revolving brushes, then hand-wiped dry by a pair of Mexicans until the vehicle glows from an inner light.

But that place is across town, and I didn't want to drive that far. Instead, I went to the nearby stop-&-rob, where they have an automated contraption that, for the same price as the other, basically gives your car a swirly. It does an ok job, but not so good that I will wail and gnash my teeth and rent my clothing as soon as some soccer mom's minifan throws a spray of dirty water upon my fender.

So anyway, I pull up to the automated box thing outside the car wash door and I try to feed it a fiver. It doesn't take it. I smooth out the bill, try it again. Nada. For a moment, I think about going somewhere else, but by now I'm realizing that I really never should have left the house at all, and I just want to get this done and go home.

I drive around to the stop-&-rob entrance, &, coughing, snuffling, unshaven, garbed in sweats, shuffle inside. I ask for a car wash, and--what the hell--upgrade to a premium for a buck more. As I'm paying the kid behind the counter, I mention that the dollar-feeder thing on the box outside isn't working. He mutters something about it being disconnected because they have to charge tax on the wash or something.

I don't know what made me say what I said next. Perhaps it was general crankyness from being sick; perhaps it was rebellion against the socio-economic system that dictated that they couldn't just round down the price of the car wash a stinkin' 42 cents so patrons could use the dollar bill feeder.

I said, "I was just hoping not to have to come in, 'cause the doctors say I'm still contagious." [koff, koff, into the back of my hand]

The kid pauses from filing the money away in the till. "With what?" he asks warily.

"They're not sure. They've pretty much ruled out yersinia pestis, because the growths in my arpits are a different color, and it's been a week and I'm still alive. [koff, koff] But they think it might be a related strain."

The cash machine chitters as it prints out the car wash ticket.

"You're kidding, right?"

I peer at the kid over my glasses so he gets the full effect of my red-rimmed eyes and give him my best "I've been working on the railroad all the live-long day" look. "I feel to crappy to be funny." [koff, koff]

The kid doesn't hand me the ticket, he pushes it across the counter at me.

"Have a nice day," he says, a bit meekly.

"I'll try," I say, as I take the ticket and turn to go. "But I'm really not looking forward to the kidney transplants."

*which, coincidentally, is equal in rank to "Clean that up!" on the list of useless things to say to a cat.


Blogger xradiographer said...


please note that I am not laughing at the contents of your post, but at your for being ill. Ill-tempered sick people are funny.

Oddly enough, their writings sometimes are, as well.

12:17 PM  

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