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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Winter Grays Are No Excuse For A Dirty Car

Maybe it looked crazy.

With wet snow falling from a gray winter sky early Sunday afternoon, people were out washing their cars. At the Go Spot Go on Sunset Boulevard next to Browne’s Addition, all four do-it-yourself bays were being used a few minutes before 1 o’clock.

Everybody wore coats. Nobody had on sunglasses. No one had any tunes cranked up. And there was no real horsing around.

This was Spokane car washing, February-style. If it were a movie, there would be zero Beach Boys songs on the soundtrack.

The streets were still wet and pocked with plenty of deep puddles. So nobody could have had any illusions about how long these auto baths would keep fenders clean.

But here’s the thing. Some people - no need for a show of hands - just can’t stand to have that seasonal layer of grime on their cars for more than, say, a month.

It’s just part of nature. Birds gotta fly. Salmon gotta swim upstream. And some owners of White Ford Explorers gotta get that greasy film of roadway sludge off their rigs now.

For these folks, there’s deep, almost moan-inducing satisfaction in wielding a high-pressure water-wand and watching accumulated dirt melt away.

Call it a rite of winter.

A thirtysomething guy washing his Honda Civic grimaced with pleasure as he aimed a high-speed stream of sudsy water at his front license plate.

In the next bay, a teenage boy ran a long-handled brush oozing pink foam over his family’s car. “Smells like bubble gum,” he said.

When the digital-display timers controlling the self-serve car-washing equipment ticked down to a minute, beepers went off with an urgency suggesting that in-coming enemy missiles were being tracked.

Time to pump in some more quarters.

One young woman started out playing supervisor as the young man with her went about washing a big four-door car. But she soon shifted her focus to simply trying to stay out of the way of accidentally misaimed streams of water. Well, at least they looked accidental.

Another guy hosed down his blue Plymouth Voyager as a woman in the passenger’s seat read a paperback.

In mere seconds, the vehicles in the car-wash bays revealed that they were colors other than grayish brown.

“It’s freezing out here,” said a towel-toting woman as she walked to the vacuuming station where her husband parked their still dripping car.

Well, sure. But sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

, DataTimes MEMO: Being There is a weekly feature that looks at gatherings in the Inland Northwest.

Being There is a weekly feature that looks at gatherings in the Inland Northwest.

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