Country Cars, City Cars, and Washing Horses Is Still Easier

I’ve told Shaun that my car likes dirt.  Like a good hunting dog, it enjoys charging through dust billows, mud puddles, and downpours in the effort to guide me places.

Once there, it likes to loll in the hot sunshine and dry. Baking the mud into the finish. While it draws the line at mice, it doesn’t care if a tiny spider lives behind the side mirror, weaving silvery strands that frame the mirror.

I explain to Shaun: my car enjoys a more…bohemian….lifestyle.  It doesn’t mind what life throws up: flies, manure pile, gravel roads, mud, bird poop, dust. It even tolerates Grand Opening fliers stuck under its wiper at big box stores.

It’s a happy-go-lucky car. It doesn’t complain about drive through car washes, though I know it hates them.

Shaun’s car refuses to unlock if I’m wearing riding boots.  It makes me change my shoes and put my boots in a plastic bag in the trunk. When I shut the trunk, the locks pop up. If I’m carrying a water bottle? It wants to know if I’m taking it with me when I get out.

We find each other annoying.

It would drive through the car wash daily if possible. Our cars have decidedly different expectations of life.

Shaun’s car, in its Happy Place: the parking lot at her office, watching the sun rise over San Francisco Bay;

My car, in its Happy Place, in barn parking, watching turkeys run through the mud:

To me, this situation is cut and dried:

  • Shaun has a city car
  • Jane has a country car

Problem. Shaun believes my country car is really a city car that I refuse to keep up properly.  “Could you just wash it? Occasionally?”, she pleads, pausing. I can see she’s weighing whether she should say more.  Finally, she says, carefully: “The neighbor asked me how it was holding up as an off-road vehicle”.

Okay, I get it. An off-road station wagon? This is not a Shaun/Jane car issue.  It sounds like I’m irritating the neighborhood’s sense of cleanliness.  Poor Shaun.

“I DO drive it through the car wash once a month or so…”, I lie, rather defensively.

“Right”, says Shaun, seeing right through me, and raising the ante. “It’s not getting all the dirt off.  It needs a hand wash.”

I can understand her position: after all, she was the recipient of Neighbor Sarcasm.

Pick one, these are the reasons I tell Shaun I don’t hand wash (FYI: I believe them):

  1. It’s too hard, It hurts my back
  2. I get soaked, I hate that
  3. Bending over gives me a headache
  4. It takes too long
  5. No matter what I do, I get streaks
  6. I’m too old for manual labor
  7. Someone behind me is always fuming, waiting for the wash rack

(Yup, our Homeowners Association built a covered wash rack with a central drain and handy soda machine, so we can more easily keep our cars clean.)

Shaun’s heard all the reasons. “It takes 15 minutes”, she says, “what’s so hard about that?”

“Fine”, I say.  “I’ll drive it through the car wash tomorrow.”

I was thinking about this yesterday while I was slathering soap on my horse. It’s easier to wash your horse, even though:

  1. Cars don’t want to kill you if you wash their headlights
  2. Cars don’t deliberately step on the hose to cut off the water supply
  3. They don’t toss their hoods in the air trying to get out of their windshields being washed
  4. They don’t swing their trunks around to avoid getting their tail lights scrubbed
  5. Once they’re parked, they don’t move: no worry that a 1,000 lb. tire might accidentally stomp on your foot.
  6. They don’t pester you for gasoline the whole time, because a former owner once bribed them with petrol to stand still.
  7. They don’t lash your face with a wet seat belt when you’re bent over trying to decide how white that white wall is, really.

I had a blast. I was soaked. I was happy, and (drumroll)…

…Hudson looked like this for 15 minutes…

Go figure.

It IS easier. The only similarity?

Someone else is always waiting for the wash rack, fuming…

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14 thoughts on “Country Cars, City Cars, and Washing Horses Is Still Easier

  1. mdipiazza

    Once again we live in a parallel universe! My 11 year old Honda saw soap about….mmmm….3 years ago, when my ex thought it was high time that the love bugs got scrubbed off. Of course that lasted for 10 minutes and hasn’t been done again since. And I can vouch for silver cars being dirt resistant. Just sayin’.

    Reply
  2. Cyndi

    My car and your car would be best buddies!
    Hudson looks gorgeous… my boys are jealous. No, wait a minute, they don’t want to get wet!

    Enjoyed your post!

    Reply
  3. Beth

    I can help with the clean car issue. Buy a bottle of what is called Self Rinse shampoo, pour about 2 ounces of it into a bucket, add water and use that to wash vehicle. Rinse a bit, but you don’t have to be fanatical. My WHITE van (parked in the open in a very busy city, high traffic area) only now needs a bath, and it was last washed 2 months ago. The brand I use is made by Chris Christiansen and it also does wonders for taking off those black streaks that trailers and motor homes seem to be prone to.

    Reply
      1. Beth

        Forgot to mention – Self Rinse is a dog product – most often found at dog shows. If I can save even one relationship, that will be great. Maybe one of them will wash my vehicle?

        Reply
  4. Liz Goldsmith

    Wow is Hudson shiny! My car is like my dogs. As soon as its clean it wants to roll in the dirt. We don’t have any city cars at our house!

    Reply
    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      Once I recovered from the surprise that he was long-bodied, with short stubby legs, and built sort of twisty (Cell phone photo) I was pleasantly surprised at how shiny he was. No show sheen, no coat enhancers. He’s a healthy boy!

      I bathed him using a sample bottle of shampoo (2 tablespoons?) the feed store was giving out for free: Eqyss Premier Natural Botanical Shampoo. I’m surprised at the difference it made, as I wasn’t impressed with it’s ability to clean socks. (Of course, I used the 2 tablespoons in 3 gallons of water… )
      😉
      It did leave him quite shiny. I’d consider trying it again, depending on the price. I’m a fan of highly diluted Vetrolin.

      Reply
  5. dressage rider

    I”ve always preferred to let nature wash away the dirt. My husband usually reaches a point where he can’t stand it any longer and hand washes it. He rarely drives it though.

    Reply
  6. Annette

    Washing cars = boring. And why bother – they’ll just get dirty anyway, and it’s not like scrubbing helps keep the paint shiny; in fact, it can take off some of the protective layers! (Though, don’t leave birt droppings on your vehicle… they can be harmful if left alone.)

    Horses, though? They are fun, and good photo opportunities! You need to have someone get photos of you washing Hudson. They are unique and enjoyable!

    Sure there’s plain old “grouchy face in the wash rack”: http://www.flickr.com/photos/netg15/5072675323/in/set-72157623599754848

    But then there’s “artsy, dripping black and white”: http://www.flickr.com/photos/netg15/5073273490/in/set-72157623599754848

    The perfect display of his personality “stick the tongue out at the photographer”: http://www.flickr.com/photos/netg15/5072674167/in/set-72157623599754848

    And his thought on having his face washed “stick the tongue out at Mom”: http://www.flickr.com/photos/netg15/5073273866/in/set-72157623599754848

    Of course, after the bath there’s the “Mom, I still love you because your braids taste good” shot, too:
    DSC_8872

    Reply
  7. Barbara

    Part of the solution is dirt colored cars. I discovered many years ago that the Toyota gold color – the name changes every year – can carry an incredible amount of dirt. I owned three in a row. Now I have a ‘pewter’ colored Nissan, pewter is another word for DIRT. You do have to wash them when you can’t see out the windows but they don’t attract comments from the neighbors. If it makes you feel any better, a friend of mine who actually has a horse has a car just like Shaun’s. It never has dirt, sand or horse hair in it. It hates me. I don’t understand it, my dirt colored car and I like each other just fine.

    Reply
    1. Tullae

      I find silver cars also hide an amazing amount of dirt…. but my car is British racing green. You can see every speck, every spider web, ever smear, ever scratch. You can see relatively clean spots on the boot where fingers have gripped it to close it and inadvertently rubbed some of the grime off. I wash my car about 3 times a year. And although it is a tiny 3 door hatch, it does frequently go off-road.

      Reply
      1. theliteraryhorse Post author

        *smacks forehead* Next car: dirt colored!
        Daisy’s car? She can throw hay and grain in it’s perfectly polished trunk, it doesn’t care, and always looks immaculate. Of course, it’s dark pewter colored….
        😉

        Reply
  8. Tucker

    Well OF COURSE it’s better to wash a horse than a car (though, I laughed out loud at your comparison and got an eye roll from a co-worker walking past my office), because I got a total endorphin rush when I saw that photo. Clean shiny horses make us happy 🙂

    Reply

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