My de-stressing tool is the car wash. There are many advantages. Washes are located around most towns. They are open 24/7, except for those who encounter a Canadian Clipper, when the water is frozen. A basic wash costs very little. You can use credit and debit cards, in addition to currency. I was never happier with this modification, because that last thing we need is money being rejected for some trivial reason. THAT was stressful and the words I’d say weren’t nice either. Another advantage: the basic wash is just as good as deluxe, so don’t bother.
There’s something calming about entering a dimly lit bay. Sometimes garage doors shut and you feel like you’re swaddled in a cocoon. Then the water treatment starts, figuratively and literally. A swish, swash, raining rhythm takes me to a better place. During that time, I prefer music. Silence works just as well. Bach for Babies is my car wash pick. When the session finishes, the garage door and music sometimes end simultaneously. That’s “Nirvana.” It’s like the curtain goes, you exit the bay, the soap, water and stress drains. Outside you enter the world again clean and sparkly.
Why this works: you have paused for a few minutes – maybe only five, but it’s five more than others take. Occasionally, a co-worker has a difficult morning with her son. She heads for the car wash before work. Inside the bay, she full-out sobs, which is perfectly fine. If you don’t get stress out, it goes to our hips and bellies. Plus, tears are watery, so, technically, you’re washed inside and outside the car. How great is that?
Your questions answered: “What if I have to wait in line? UGH.” Go before work, on your lunch hour (even short ones) or after work. I’d guess most humans do not have five extra minutes in any of those time slots. “How do I do this when car-pooling kids or adults? I’m never alone!” Group wash equals group therapy. Win-win. The key: everyone agrees on a song or silence and NO CELL TALK! Reception is questionable anyway. My kids and I experienced every car wash in town when they were young. Our favorite was the pompons around 35th & State. Blue and white plastic strips (think: bicycle streamers) whip the dirt right off that car, rolling over the top, then back down to the hood. “Does manual washing my car in the bay work too?” Yes and no. Water in any form can be therapeutic, but one time, our friend, Mark, pulled his gold corvette into the manual bay, inserted his coins and the water wand got away from him like an angry snake. It nearly totaled his car. It was horrifying to watch him try and capture that wand. “What if I don’t drive, because I commute via mass transit?” My suggestion is to take a shower at home, the gym or run through public fountain, but DO NOT ENTER THE CAR WASH ON FOOT! The soap is harsh and you’ll look dumb in goggles.