No YOU Shut Up And Drive
Janis Hirsch illustration

A VroomGirl Is Always Prepared

A car wash is the ideal disaster relief meeting place. We’ll meet you there when the next natural disaster strikes.

By Janis Hirsch

Gotta Love A Good Waxing

As someone born in Hurricane Sandy country (New Jersey) who now lives in Earthquake Central (Los Angeles) and once wrote on a sitcom about kooky twins (anyone remember “Double Trouble”?!), I know that disaster is always just around the corner.

Our home is as ready as it can be and still have Jews living in it but what if we need to evacuate? I know they’re always opening schools as temporary shelters but how are little desks and low toilets going to help?

That is why I’m recommending to FEMA that car washes be designated National Relief Centers. Think about it: there’s water. And soap. And wax, if catastrophe also strikes your bikini line. But there’s so much more.

Choosing Just The Right Greeting Card

Stroll with me now from the drop off/”for only $32 more I can make your tires sparkle like diamonds” lane as we head toward the cashier. If your car wash is anything like mine, the first stop is the bathrooms. Back in the day, car wash restrooms were where virologists from the Center For Disease Control went on field trips. But lately, I’ve noticed they’re bigger and cleaner than ever. Granted, I have very low standards but they’re First Class on Emirates compared to the one at the hardware store: I will wet myself before I go there again.

Okay, so we have two bathrooms. Not as many as a school but at least the door locks. Moving down the hall, we have the racks of greeting cards – the perfect thing for displaced people to jot notes to family and friends saying “I’m okay.” And really, does anything say “I’m okay” better than a birthday card with a photo of a hairy butt crack or a condolence card featuring a monkey in chef’s pants?

On the other side of the card racks are the big windows where we can watch our car go through the wash. I don’t know when underpaid small men getting squirted with hot soap became a spectator sport but there you have it.

Curious Merchandise, Akin To A Moroccan Bazaar

But in a disaster, this car wash alley can be converted into a children’s play area. Let ‘em run back and forth between the giant sponges, let ‘em play in the barrel of no-lint towels. At least they’re clean and seriously, have you ever taken a good look at the McDonald’s slide ball pit?

My car wash isn’t big but the amount of merchandise they have for sale is astounding. Car deodorizers (handy when you’re cheek-to-jowl with fellow refugees), touch-up paint (works great on chipped pedicures!), WD-40 (for when romance is in the air) and sheepskin seat covers (good for sleeping on or draping casually over your shoulders like an ovine-pashmina).

The food sold at car washes may not be gourmet the way school cafeterias are – no sloppy joes here – but what they do carry will get you through any crisis: an array of jerky that both boggles the mind and tastes like puppy chews; candy, gum, mints, all of them stale; soft drinks, bottled water, bong water repackaged as “flavored” water – eeek! – isn’t the beauty of water that it has no flavor? There’s coffee in a bottle, heart attack in a bottle – I mean, Energy Drinks; chips, muffins and nutrition bars with the exact same calorie, fat and carb content as a Snickers but four times as much money and tastes like a carpet sample; cigarettes (this is not an endorsement); rolling papers (this is not an endorsement); magazines, paperback books and even nightshirts with muscle men and bikini-clad women stenciled on them. You have to admit, this sure beats what you can scrounge out of the Lost and Found at a middle school.

If there’s not enough room for your family inside, there are tents all around the perimeter for hand-drying and waxing that’ll serve you well in a disaster. In addition to the shelter they provide, they also have those retractable air hoses for drying around your windows. In a pinch, these hoses can double as feminine hygiene helpers: a quick “zzztz” of fresh air will do your ladyworks a world of good!

Another plus about requisitioning the car wash as a disaster relief area? If you’re already in a FEMA trailer, you can get it detailed while you wait.

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