On Tuesday, I took the opportunity, while Kyla was home, to wash our car. It was looking pretty yuck, and I am too cheap to pay for a car wash when I can do it myself, even if I don’t have a sponge or a brush.
But I’m not going to bore you guys with the details of me trying to wash a station wagon with a wet t-shirt.
I want to tell you about why I hate Lincoln Town Cars.
In college, I had a job as a car prep at the local airport branch of a national rental car company.
It was kind of like working at a car wash…but not exactly.
See, this airport was technically an international airport, though I can’t remember ever seeing an international flight on the schedule. So it wasn’t a teeny tiny airport, but it wasn’t a big one either.
Anyway, my job was to take the cars that were returned, wash them, vacuum them, make them pretty, and bring them back quickly. The money was decent, hours were flexible, and I got to work on my tan (yes, I used to love going out in the sun…shocking, huh?)
Another cool thing that happened as a result of my working there was acquiring the skills to drive very large vehicles…like “packers” (13 passenger vans). To this day, I’m proud to say that I could 3-point-turn anything short of a tractor trailer with little anxiety.
When I first started working there, we washed the cars behind a gas station up the road from the airport. It was kind of weird and creepy late in the evening, but it wasn’t too bad. There was another car prep–a guy in his thirties–who always left the stereos on in the cars when he turned them off, which lead to more than one complaint from renters getting in the car and being blown away by the music blasting at full volume. Anyway, he talked the gas station owner into setting up a clothes line for him out back, and he would bring his laundry there and hang it up to dry during his shift instead of paying for a dryer at the laundromat.
Then one of the bigger rental agencies built a fancy new 8 bay wash and prep building, and we got their old building. It was pretty sweet having a real car wash to use, rather than a brush, a bucket and a hose. And there were two bays, so we rarely had to take turns.
I look back at that now and wonder why I didn’t take more advantage of using the prep building to wash my own car more. And it makes me feel old that I look back on that time fondly because of my tan and the free car wash.
Anyway, so this city was on the coast, and golf was H-U-G-E, so most of our customers were golfers. Which means we were always having to clean large cars and SUVs for the foursomes and their clubs. And if they did not have a large enough vehicle waiting on them the second they got out of the gate, you can bet they were going to be royally pissed.
So I learned to wash and vacuum an entire SUV in about seven minutes. The only hard part was cleaning the top of the car, since I’m what my father calls “vertically-challenged.”
But then there were the older golfers…the ones who insisted on Cadillacs and Lincolns, rather than the SUVs. I hated it when they would come in.
I always hated cleaning the trunks, mostly because they would be full of dirt and dried grass from the clubs, and they were a bitch to vacuum. Being as short and small as I am, I had to climb into the trunk to reach the most interior part, right behind the back seat.
Now, this one day, I was cleaning a Town Car. We had terrible storms all the week before, and it was evident by the mud covering the trunk carpet that the golfers who had returned the car has not let a little thing like inclement weather ruin their vacation.
I washed it first, as was my habit, and got the outside looking pretty spiffy. Then I pulled the car over to the vacuum, grabbed a wet rag for the dried mud, and climbed into the trunk to get to work on making that carpet pretty enough for the next foursome to dirty up again.
Well, while I was in there, the aforementioned coworker, who had a thing for loud music, pulled up and got to work on another of our cars. I heard him pull up, but didn’t bother greeting him, since I knew he couldn’t hear me anyway. Well, at some point, I dropped the vacuum, realizing that he may need it before I did, and that it would take me a while to get the mud loose enough to even begin vacuuming it up.
Sure enough, he did need it. When he didn’t see me at the car, he assumed that I was in the bathroom, and thought he would shut the trunk, in case someone pulled up after he left and tried to steal it (his words, as explained to me later that day).
Yes…I had just been shut in the trunk of a Lincoln Town Car.
I start yelling as soon as the lid closed…but he didn’t hear me. Between the vacuum and the stereo, there was no way he would hear me.
I listened for him to come back, maybe wondering where I had got off to, or for him to turn off the vacuum or turn down the stereo.
None of these things happened, and I listened to him drive away.
I started fumbling around to find the emergency latch, since I was sure this car must have one, being a luxury vehicle with a huge trunk. But I couldn’t find it. It was pitch black, and I could barely tell where the back of the car was, much less tell where the latch would be.
I was pretty calm the whole time, considering that I inherited a mild form of claustrophobia from my mom. It was more than half an hour before anyone came to look for me, which was shocking, sicne I was one of the fastest car preps we had. But the guy had told someone that he thought I must be sick, because I had been in the bathroom the whole time he was cleaning his last car.
But, someone finally came, and happened to check the trunk.
I refused to clean another Town Car for the rest of the time I worked there.
And I still hate them.