Most of the time I wash the car at one of those do-it-yourself, compressed-water-spray operations that cost about three bills. They also have quarter-in-the-slot vacuum deals. But every so often I splurge on a bells-and-whistles car wash facility. There’s one on the west side of La Cienega and just south of Melrose, called Royal Car Wash, that I visited today. I was there for only about 25 or 30 minutes and two unfortunate things happened in that time slot — (a) a case of sexual favoritism that I took exception to and (b) a bearish, gray-haired guy who moaned and “ahhh”-ed too loudly when he was in one of those quarter-in-the-slot massage chairs.

I was getting a massage myself in the chair right behind this guy and probably enjoyed it just as much, but being a New Jersey/Connecticut WASP, I hold that shit in. I really love it when those machine-fingers start working on my lower backbone but I don’t let go with “aaaahhh, God!,” “Aahhwwww!,” “Oh, Jesus…oh man, I don’t believe this!” and so on. His moans were so appalling I was starting to feel badly about experiencing the same device. You’re lowering the property values, dude.  If I hadn’t been facing the opposite direction I would’ve given him the old stink-eye. So many people treat public areas like their living rooms or bathrooms.

A few minutes earlier I was approaching the area where they ask you what kind of wash you want and what interior fragrance, etc. I pulled up behind another guy in the middle lane and waited as others were taken care of. I gradually moved up to the #1 middle position, and a few seconds later I noticed that the car wash guy (a mid-40ish Latino in a yellow T-shirt) was leaning against a car in the right-hand lane and aggressively flirting with a slender 20something (or early 30something) Latina with intense blonde hair. I figured he’d work that for a minute or so and then send her along.

But he didn’t — he kept working it and working it, giggling and joking with the girl giggling back, etc. I waited a bit more before I walked over. “Hey, man, can I get a ticket so I can go inside?” The guy looked at me resentfully and said, “Just a second, man.” I didn’t budge an inch — I stood my ground like Tom Petty. A couple of minutes later he finally performed his job.

If I’d said what was in my head, I would have waited for la chica to leave and leaned over and patted him on the shoulder and said, “”Man, foxy women don’t go out with guys who work at car washes…not in this town.”