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It Always Rains When –

     I swear my next car is going to have a self-washing option – built into the front bumper the spray will splash up over the entire car and swipe those brown spots off the face of the earth. First the soapy spray, then a clear rinse and – absolutely necessary – a gleaming waxing and a gentle blow-dry. 

     It rained. Of course. I just washed the car. When else does it rain? And I’d washed it sooner than usual because there were huge dusty brown spots all over it from the sprinkling we got two days before – not to mention I had a new reputation to keep up.  Last month my neighbor came over specifically to ask how my daughter and I keep our cars so shiny clean all the time.

     Used to be, I would wait until my car was dirty before I took it to the car wash, because why would anyone wash a clean car? But then, once the car was dirty, being a first class procrastinator, it was usually two or three weeks before I got around to getting it washed so for years my cars went through cycles of shiny clean to plain clean to a bit dusty to really, really need to be washed.

     After my daughter moved in I noticed her car was always shiny clean. In our driveway it sits a few feet away from my not-so-shiny vehicle. So I asked how often she has her car washed. Every week.

     Ohmigosh! I never thought of washing my car every week. But if that’s what it takes, guess I’d have to get to it. So I did. I started getting my car washed every week—almost. The answer to my neighbor’s question should have been easy, "We get them washed once a week," but I was too embarrassed to admit I was such a spendthrift, going to the car wash every week, especially since he always washes his own truck and his wife’s car. So I didn’t say that. I told him maybe the improved quality of the paint on new cars was the reason for their ever-shiny look. 

     It wasn’t long after my neighbor’s shiny clean compliment that more rains came. The first ones were gully washers – as much as Southern California can have gully washers – and left our cars looking clean as a whistle. The next rains were split-splot rains with huge drops spaced seconds apart that left big round brown dusty spots all over the car, like chicken pox. They were well-timed: every rain came a couple of days after my last trip to the car wash.

     After this last rain, I didn’t wait. I whipped out a ten dollar bill and took the car for a quick spin through Soapy Joe’s and watched Joe flush those spots right down the drains. Proudly I parked my shiny clean car in the driveway and dared my neighbor to look. That night it rained again.

     At the moment I’m sitting high and dry – not counting the caramel frappuccino at my side – relishing the feeling of a sparkling clean car. I just got back from the car wash. There’s nothing like a clean, shiny car to lift your spirits. Well, there prob’ly is, but a clean car helps.

     As I sit here with my frappuccino, a suspicious split-splotting sound hits the sidewalk. So far this month, out of thirteen days my car has been covered with dusty split-splots ten; My neighbor kindly hasn’t said a word but if your plants ever need watering, I suggest you hurry your car down to the nearest car wash.

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