Another Pointless Post: Sweatpants and the Car Wash

The differences in lifestyles across sub-sets of our culture sometimes leave me stupefied. Last December, while sitting at a gas mart in Thornton, a cookie-cutter suburb of Denver, waiting to meet Scotty D for a brief climbing road trip, I stared, mouth agape, at the six-deep line of cars and SUVs waiting to enter the automatic car wash.

Damnit, guys, I told you we should've washed the Jeep. (En route to Hushe, Pakistan.)

I’ve never once washed my car. Even if I cared, the rain does it for free. I can’t anymore imagine washing my car than I can imagine being one of those tea-party douchebags (call me un-‘Merican, but I believe that caring for our fellow human – even the less-fortunate, pathetic and slovenly as they are – should take priority over corporate profits). On my list of things I care about enough to spend even ten minutes of time, washing my car couldn’t be farther below the bottom of the list. I just don’t get it. Not that it matters if I get it, but this is my blog so I’m allowed to rant about random topics.

Climbing makes no sense, either. As least until you consider that challenging yourself on levels physical, psychological, and emotional — regardless of the vehicle (pardon the pun) – gives us depth and helps us grow in ways that most of us, myself certainly included, cannot adequately articulate. Simply put, though, it’s probably passion. Certainly passion can be used for evil, but well directed passion helps drive us (that pun thing again…am I on to something here? Are cars (well washed, of course) the solutions to the world’s problems? Uh, no).

Colin Haley is SO going shopping!

Why do so many people seem to wrap their identities in the hunk of metal that gets them from point A to point B? Does that count as a “passion”? It’s like the people who “love to shop” – seriously? Yuk. What a turn-off. There I go again, being un-‘Merican by bashing on unabashed materialism. But really, just buying tons of unnecessary crap that you don’t use for anything, for the sole sake of buying tons of unnecessary crap that you don’t use for anything? A passion? Really? I’ve already ranted on this, so I’ll spare you. I know, I’m a judgmental hypocrite like the rest of us. In contrast, I’ll concede that hand washing your car, like the auto buffs do with their collector’s editions (even if I don’t “get” the car thing), seems different. Just sitting in line to hit the auto-scrub seems purely superficial.

Keeping expectations low, gotta wash the car now.

Who am I kidding? I sound like an ass-hole. We all do all kinds of pointless things just to get by, things that somehow give us a shred of daily self-worth in a lost world, as silly as those things seem to others. Climbing, for example. And I have my favorite margarita glass and my favorite coffee mug. I don’t know why, I just like them. I hate to admit it, but sometimes I think about what I’m going to wear if I’m going out in public – even to the grocery store. Mock copy block time:

No Expectations Sweatpants. Dream low and plan to fail—nothing says “ambition” like a good pair of sweatpants and at age 37, still living in your parents’ basement, sleeping till noon and playing Doom all day, you need something as soft as you are. You’ll never get up the route anyway, so slide into these power-lounging sweats, expect the worst and you’ll get to be right or pleasantly surprised. Made from unwashed recycled pajamas.

In my trying-to-be-less-judgmental-but-not-quite-there-yet mind, I still shake my head at the inanity of giving a rat’s ass about having some dirt on your car. Let your car get too dirty, though, and you could end up with a rig like the Chief’s. And maybe those people simply like their cars without dirt. Just like I like my favorite marg glass. Just like I’m still not wearing sweatpants to the grocery story.

5 thoughts on “Another Pointless Post: Sweatpants and the Car Wash

  1. Not to forgive SUV drivers in Denver, but washing the undercarriage of your car in New England is the best way to prevent falling through the rusted out floor in a couple of years. My husband’s truck, from this century, looks worse from 3 years in upstate NY than our recently acquired, formerly CA residing, ’85 VW camper van. Just say’n – washing one’s car isn’t all bad.

  2. Or, if you live up in New England and don’t wash your car, it rusts out because of the salt they put on the road. Then it doesn’t pass inspection and you have to spend even more money getting a new car.

  3. As a friend once told me when I returned from overseas, “As much you believe them petty, the other side [of the conversation] just thinks you’re plain ol’ crazy.” why bother trying kelly?

    This is the kind of rant you should have mentioned Jim Earl’s 1976 Datsun 710 station wagon.

  4. Whew, good thing I no longer live in the East–at least I can claim ignorance on my latest rant! And, indeed, I’m into Uri’s suggestion — turn it into a marg event and wash the car. As stupid as washing the car seems to me, hmmmm, let’s see, so what do I do with my life? I guess I’m not one to talk about pointless endeavors now, am I? (Not that it’s stopped me from babbling before.)

    Yes, Volk, Jim’s old car, Jesus! That thing, wow, what memories. Might have to post a story about that hunk of metal sometime. Jim, bottlecap-thick glasses and mop of red hair, all kinds of smoke emitting from the car (some from the car, some from elsewhere, as I recall…), swerving like a housewife on pills (my god is — was? — that guy a bad driver), scaring the bejesus out of me and The Chief (same Chief from my very first post), on multiple times launching us into a snow drift because he’s looking at ice climbs instead of the road, but, somehow, always miraculously lurching us back *out* of the hood-deep drifts with some weird combination of momentum and miracles, while bellowing, “yeeeeehaaaaaw! Jesus saves!”

    The looks that The Chief and I would then exchange…

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