Q.: What’s wrong with this picture?

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A.: The fact that there’s a picture at all.

Whenever we drive away from my parents’ house, my dad stands on the sidewalk waving to us until we turn the corner and he can no longer see our car. The last time we drove off, we didn’t get my dad’s customary send-off. Instead, I could see him inclining his head toward my sister’s. He had a rather serious expression on his face as he said something to her while gesturing to the side of my car. I’m pretty sure he was saying something about the inadvisability of driving around with a car bespattered with a thick layer of salt sludge.

This prompted my first trip to the carwash in a very long time. My poor, battered, dented, scratched-up long-suffering cliché of a minivan has been washed a total of maybe four times in 11 years and 188,878 miles. When I announced to the kids that we were taking the car for a wash, you might have thought I had told them we were going to Disney World, they were that gleeful.

“We better do the Premium wash,” I told them. They crowed as they watched the other cars ahead of us and in other lanes getting lower rate washes:

“Psht. That one’s just doing the Basic wash,” one of them sniffed with naked scorn.

“And look, that car’s getting the Deluxe. But that doesn’t include the Lustra Triple Foam, the Lustra Total Surface Gloss, or the Spot-Free Rinse,” another one pointed out.

And no Laser Dri,” the third one added pityingly.

I didn’t want to mar their enjoyment of this moment by speaking aloud what I was thinking in my head:  “THEY probably wash their cars more than once every three years.”

It was our turn at last. As the carwash cycle started, my children’s air of slightly detached, lordly superiority suddenly vanished. In a completely undignified manner they all started shrieking at me to “Take a picture! Take a picture!” Startled into action by their urgency, I fumbled around for my phone as if I might miss my  chance to photograph an extremely rare, freakish, once-in-a-blue-moon occurrence…Hmmm.

Hope your weekend is wonderful!

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