Monday, April 21, 2008

Los Angeles weekends

This weekend, we did the kinds of things that Los Angeles families do on weekends - we took care of our cars, and we ate.

The eating part is pretty normal for us, but the car part is unusual. We tend to neglect our cars, and they have become somewhat decrepit. Several months ago I took [The Man I Love]'s car into Pep Boys to have a burned out tail-light replaced, and the technician told me we needed new tires. I've been nagging [The Man I Love] ever since about driving on bald tires, and today it finally worked. We took his car to a full-service tire dealer and asked them to put on new tires, change the fluids and do a tune-up.

The shop's proprietor recommended a nearby Mexican restaurant where we could lunch while waiting for the work to be done.

They had pretty good margaritas. And they made the guacamole fresh at your table - I love that! Ply me with carnitas tacos and I'm a happy girl!

Like typical Angelenos, we had driven two cars to the auto shop, to avoid getting stranded if the car had to be left overnight. Luckily, the shop said it would be done in a couple of hours. So after our meal, we decided to take my car (aka, My Son's car) for a much-needed bath.

As I said above, we are deplorable people who neglect our cars. I am a little worried the authorities are going to tear up my "Los Angeles County Resident" card because I fail to wash my car at regulation intervals. It's bad enough that the oaks trees at home spread their day-glo green pollen and stringy little flowers on my car, but there also seems to be a very large bird roosting over my parking space at work, because there are spectacular splashes of white guano on the hood and windows.

Well, like a person who only attends church on Christmas and Easter, I washed my car in celebration of Spring.

Here it is, getting washed by the kind gentlemen at the Tarzana Car Wash.I moved to Los Angeles in my 40's, and I was a little taken aback at the importance Angelenos place on having a clean car. Maybe it's because I came here from Seattle, and who can keep a car clean where it rains all the time? At my first job in L.A., I was amazed my co-workers would take their lunch break to wash their cars! Then I learned how many great taquerias in L.A. are located on or near the premises of car washes - a perfect example of the symbiotic nature of the market economy.
The Tarzana Car Wash has a hot dog stand.

It takes time to get your car washed, so car washes provide entertaining diversions to keep you occupied while you wait.

The cashier's office at car washes have racks of greeting cards, car accessories, assortments of air fresheners, and - for some reason - rotating displays of reading glasses. These are so ubiquitously present at car washes that [The Man I Love] and I refer to cheap reading glasses as "car wash glasses." Some places have coin operated massage chairs that will quiver away beneath you for a quarter.

But, inevitably, you end up with everyone else, sitting on the bench under the awning, reading the real estate ads and waiting for the guy rubbing down your car to whistle and twirl his towel in the air, indicating that he's finished. I was embarrased by the dents and the broken tail light, but the attendant polished, wiped, and cleaned my car with as much tender loving care as he would with someone's Bentley.

And won't My Son be pleased to see his car so nice and clean when he comes home from college next month? But what will I drive then????


KathyR said...

Is that Sol Y Luna? We've been meaning to try that place but never manage to get there.

g said...

HI, Kathy, yes is is Sol Y Luna! Just up the hill from the tire shop!

We liked it!

JCK said...

I love how you are really giving people a feel for the true Los Angeles on your blog. These are all the reasons we love L.A.

She who admits to washing her car 4X a year....