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 At The Car Wash 
On the Road with Truman
by Jan Rifkinson
excerpted from the Bouvier Mailing Lists



Ok sports fans, picture this:

4pm, Mt Kisco, NY, the car wash, its cold outside. Truman & I decide to get the car cleaned up; it's been a dirty month with snow & what not. We pull into line -- there are two lines actually -- because @ the end of the day, it gets really busy @ the car wash. The attendant comes over to take our order. Truman & I decide to go for it this day -- the silver special for $23.45 -- including the "wheel bright" package.

There are a number of cars in front of us so, as we were waiting for our turn, I decided to put some packages in the trunk. I got out of the car leaving the engine running to keep me warm, the seats were on to keep me warm; I'm wearing my leather coat with the fleece lining to keep me warm. I tell Truman I'm just putting stuff in the trunk. 

While I'm at the back of the car, another attendant comes along with a pail & brush to administer to my filthy wheels as part of the "wheel brite" package. Now Truman takes great umbrage when a stranger approaches his car (you know what I mean) so it was not unusual for him to lunge @ the window looking like he's about to come through the glass @ the interloper. I assure the now scared-stiff attendant that it was ok for him to squat & work on my wheels & tires. 

So he squats to work on the left front, then the left back, then the right front (uh oh, sez Truman he's on the other side, so he lunges @ him from that side) right back. The attendant finishes, I thank him & as he walks away, I decide to get back to my warmed seats. 

Grasping the door handle firmly, I pull to open but nothing happens, so I try a couple more times. Nothing. Something wrong here. I look inside the car. An angelic Truman is sitting in the driver's seat looking @ me with those eyes & I notice that the electronic locking mechanism has been engaged -- all the doors are locked, the windows are closed, the keys are in the ignition, the car is running, the cellular phone is sitting in its cradle, I'm in line @ 4pm on a cold, busy day @ the car wash with no where to go.

Can I jimmy the lock? uh, uh Should I break a window? uh, uh Should I cut through the convertible top? I don't think so. Can I get into the passenger area from the trunk? uh, uh Can I get under the hood to cut the engine? uh uh  Damned electronic locking system. Shit.

Now the guys @ the vacuum station can't figure out why I'm not moving up in the line, the cars behind me can't figure out why I'm not moving up in the line, so somebody from the car wash comes over & I explain as Truman is lunging @ him from inside the warm car. The guy sort of shakes his head in disbelief & wanders off to explain it to every one else.  I motion to the cars behind me to go around as I tell each person what has happened. They all laugh -- ha, ha. I'm freezing my ass off.

Fortunately, I had some change, so I called Carol to explain the situation. The only way out is to get another set of keys from the house. As for logistics, I'm in Mt Kisco, Carol is in Chappaqua, and the house is in Pound Ridge -- three points on a triangle, 25 minutes apart. A quick calculation tells me, I'm gonna be stuck @ the car wash for another hour & a quarter. So I run back out to Truman to make sure he's ok. He's now napping in the back seat so I knocked @ the window to make sure carbon monoxide hadn't gotten him. He looks up, perky & then goes back to napping. What to do, what to do? as I motion cars in my line to go around.

So nothing, I spend the hour + out there with Truman leaning against my idling car, waiting for Carol to bring the extra set of keys, while people came out from inside the car wash to point & laugh.

We were the last car to go through before the car wash closed down for the night.

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