Normally, I wash my car on Saturday mornings when I venture out for quarters. As I rely on the laundry room at my apartment complex , I blow through a pile of coins every weekend to rid my clothes of the week’s grime. The closest change machine happens to be at a self-serve car wash a few blocks away. With just a few minutes and six quarters, I gain a bright shiny black car.

However, I am anticipating a Saturday too busy to include leisurely domestic duties. The dirty clothes will simply have to wait until Sunday. My car, however, bears the effects of a week of rainstorms and dirty asphalt. The spray of other cars’ tires has left a dingy white veneer over the jet black metal, and my own wheels have deposited a crust of mud and road grease. Quite simply, my car is filthy, and I cannot stand a filthy car.

And so I find myself swiping my debit card at the touch-free car wash this morning, sighing as I spend quadruple the cost of my normal Saturday wash. Nonetheless, a clean car makes me happy, and six bucks really isn’t too steep of a price for my happiness. I pull up until the red light flashes, alerting me that I am in the correct position for the automated car wash to begin. The hooked arm of jets begins its circumferential journey around me, dousing my car with a generous spray of water. I gaze at the sheets of water cascading down my windshield as the thunderous jets pound upon the roof of my car. It is as though I have been plunged underwater as the outside world recedes from my eyes and ears.

After my car has been thoroughly soaked, the hooked arm of jets slows its course as bright tendrils of colored foam are offered up to my ebony hatchback. Pink, blue, and green streams splash in a pastel kaleidoscope across the windows. The inside of the car glows in the cotton candy light cast by the ethereal striations of rainbowed beauty.

But the rainbow cannot stay for long as the wet windshield yields a slippery landslide of foam down my car. The colors mingle as they run, and the blending of pastel fancy results in a duller earthen tone. As first, I am disheartened to lose the pretty pinks, dreamy greens, and opiate blues. Then I realize that those fantasy hues are false and unnatural; while the pastel kaleidoscope is a pretty sight, it is not reality. The resultant olive green is actually beautiful on its own; only when compared to the false rainbow does the olive appear drab. Instead of the saccharine charm of candied fantasy, the color of reality has a deeper luster of truth and genuine beauty.

I am stirred from my reverie by the jets’ resumed thunder as clear water washes away the remaining foam. As the last of the swirling colors slip across the concrete floor, I am reminded of when the last of my faithful superstitions were washed away to reveal the lucid beauty of reality. Like the arm of jets circling my car and rinsing away the façade of fantasy foam, so too had the arm of reason encircled my mind and stripped away the binding blindfold of religious belief. Once those wicked canons and their sugared dreams had been removed, I was free to see the true beauty of the surrounding cosmos.

The red light flashes green, informing me that it is time to drive on. I exit the car wash into the bright October sunshine, my black car gleaming and my right mind shining.

Originally posted at
(Gratuitous self-promotion <3 )

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