The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


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Publishing Update
November 20, 2023
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Closing the Chapter
November 10, 2023

Car wash provides panicked roller-coaster ride to start 2012

Going through the car wash during my adolescence was better than riding half of the roller coasters at Kennywood.

Throw your feet up on the dash and pray that the high-pressure hoses blasting water at the piece of glass next to your head doesn’t make you look like Freddy Krueger.

But nowadays going through the car wash makes me wish I fell asleep during “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”

It’s as stressful as taking all your finals. At one time. In a shark tank. Wearing a necklace of chum.

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The moment I pull into the car wash line my heart rate picks up and doesn’t slow until I leave with a shoddily cleaned car. If I was petrified of the car wash process in 2011, then consider me downright paralyzed by it in 2012.

But my aversion has nothing to do with the brushes and hoses.

During one of the first days of the new year, I rolled my Impala into the line at a local gas station where I waited to get overcharged for a subpar clean.

I can deal with paying a pretty penny and sitting in the back of a line that looks like it belongs in the DMV but I start getting nervous when car after car starts pulling in behind me. If something goes wrong, and push comes to shove, I have more patience with strangers than strangers do with me. To make matters worse, unlike the coasters at Kennywood, there’s no nah-I’d-actually-rather-not-do-this escape route.

When you’re in line at the car wash, you’re 100 percent committed.  It’s like joining the freaking Skull and Bones.

I spent the 20-minute wait fearing all the things that could go wrong when I pulled up to the automated money grabber.

I could drive too close and knock paint off the side view mirror or I could pull too far away and have to get out of the car to pay. Then I have to make sure that the wheels are in position to get caught by the rollers.

Who made going through the car wash as complicated as destroying the Death Star?

I should’ve known there was horror awaiting me when I put a $10 bill into the machine, selected the $8 wash and received $8.35 in silver coins back for change. Not only did the car wash fail to correctly count change, it refused to recognize my car as worthy of cleaning.

After getting rolled into the wash, the machines stopped, the doors closed and I sat frantically running through my options. While trying to ignore the other drivers’ car horns, I debated getting out or looking up the number of the gas station to tell them there was a helpless customer trapped inside the car wash.

But before I could choose either option, an attendant came waddling out from the building. She might as well have been wearing sandals because this lady was my savior.

Soon after I was pulling through the other end with a semi-clean Impala thanks to that sweet, sweet lady.

I drove away like it was the first lap of the Daytona 500, thinking, “Next time, I’ll make sure to put my arms up.”


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