At the Car Wash

Reading Time: 2 minutes

It’s a familiar thing these days.  Pull up in the supermarket car park in the crisp early morning and there’s a gang there in overalls and green jackets.

You’re going to have to run the gauntlet of the very un-British thing of being asked a direct question by a stranger.  It’s as bad as the bus or the train when someone commits the faux pas of trying to strike up a conversation.  We’re British, can’t you see my eyes saying, ‘please go away and leave me alone in my determined public solitude’ ?

I’m sure that these car wash gangs get most of their business because Brits are usually too polite to say “no”.

So it was no surprise this morning as I clambered out of the car to hear the shout across the car park.  They weren’t that close, so I just shook my head,  And as I walked towards the rows of trolleys my mind processed what had actually been shouted at me

You want car wash – LADY ?

It’s early morning, I’m on autopilot because the supermarket is very near the office and it can feel like the same start as it is to the working week.  Which means that within the “me”, if anyone is in charge, it’s “him”.  I think that explains the immediate thought of “WTF !!” which came from “him”.

Then I realised, that all they’d seen before shouting their tout for business was my head and shoulders rising from behind another car.  There was nothing derogatory in it, it was how they saw my image (from a distance), what I was projecting.

And there’s the rub.  I wasn’t consciously projecting anything.  Dressed as I normally would be at the same time Monday to Friday.

I recall a couple of weeks ago that I studied my full length reflection in the lift at work and was rather surprised.  Mostly the surprise was that with the image being slightly on the feminine side of androgynous, why has no one called out the obvious changes over the last 18 months ?

With the initial “WTF !!” out of the way and melody deciding to wake up, I have obviously been thinking about this for the rest of the morning – along with the ear worm of the Rose Royce song for the film Car Wash.


It’s rather disconcerting, if I’m honest.  I wasn’t trying to be melody or even dressed overtly feminine and yet, that’s what a totally unbiased stranger saw.

Food for thought for the Weekend.