This was America. On the list of necessary stops, appointments and errands that silently broke an already broken heart, was the car wash.
A big sign with fabulous names like THE ULTIMATE or THE V.I.P. or THE EXECUTIVE spelled out what would happen or not happen like inside vacuuming or outside polishing or just lots of water and then you were on your own. Ben picked a lot of washing and then serious drying.
I watched the young man standing on the edge of flying giant mops, mutant brushes and spraying water, take a hose to what I had thought was a gray car. Windows rolled up tight we then traveled through a Disneyland ride for cars, that is if cars were alive and went on vacation.
At the end, the same young man waited. I wondered how he stayed dry all day, always on the outskirts of such ferocious wet activity.
It was so cold that the water on the mirror froze before he could finish drying it. He leaned in and said something. His accent was Russian.
"It's fine. It's fine. You did great. Here. This is for you." Ben handed him more tip.
There are a lot of Russian refugees here, Ben mentioned. That's because it's warmer than Siberia, I joked.
We continued watching the kid attempt to beat the cold before it froze all the water on a now dark blue car.
MY PRIVATE CONEY presents IT WAS HER NEW YORK, the short stories that accompany the work-in-progress video and photo collection of the same name (myprivateconey.com - media link - IT WAS HER NEW YORK). The stories and the media explore the tender rubble that holds both my mother, Florence's and New York's soul as one disappears into old age and the other into gentrification. All are real observations and/or experiences with very little tall-tale telling.
Except when it makes the story better.
Please visit myprivateconey.com for additional information and sample works.