Somewhere New

Somewhere new…somewhere new….While cruising along Richmond Road I kept my eyes peeled in search of somewhere I had never been before. And then out of nowhere, almost as if it was calling to my dusty mode of transportation, I spotted it – Buggy Bathe! I love an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. I quickly switched on my left turn signal and with a swift spin of the steering wheel pulled into the parking lot. There were signs plastered everywhere directing me where to go, so I had no trouble finding my way behind the building, where I was met by a very friendly gentleman in a burgundy polo shirt. At first I wasn’t sure what to say. Did I just ask for a car wash? Thankfully I looked up just in time to notice that the entire back side of the building displayed the different cleaning packages offered. At that point I confidently ordered the ‘coachmen,’ and was handed an order form before being directed inside to the cashier. The backdoor opened to a hallway, of which one entire wall was a window to the drive-thru carwash. Numerous times I’ve seen the inner workings of a carwash from inside my vehicle, but this was the first time I’d actually had a view looking in. (In my opinion, it’s more exciting to be inside the car as it’s being washed.) I stopped for a few minutes to watch the long red pieces of fabric sponge chaotically spread soapsuds across the never ending line of vehicles as they slowly progressed down the conveyer line. A small child next to me seemed to be mesmerized by this process, as he stood with his hands and nose pressed firmly against the glass in full peeking position. After I’d had enough of watching the washing process, I proceeded towards to cashier. Once again I got sidetracked, this time by the ‘for sale’ display. Hanging there on a plastic hanger was the cutest little set of zebra floor mats you’ve ever seen! As I contemplated adding these to my purchase, my brain chimed in, “You’re a broke college student.” So, I left them where they were. Finally, I made it to the cashier. A young lady, also in a burgundy polo shirt, took my order sheet and rang me up. The total was $25.95 ($20.95 for the wash and $5 for tip). Geesh! That’s a little too rich for my blood. The drive thru car wash I normally go to is only $10, but I guess some people would say, “You get what you pay for.” After paying, I looked around the lobby only to find that all of the seats were occupied. I didn’t want to just stand there like a wallflower, so I sprinted across Richmond Road to the Yankee Candle Outlet, which is one of my favorite places to go in the Burg. Luckily I happened to have a coupon, so I picked up a couple candles and some air fresheners for my soon-to-be-clean car before heading back to Buggy Bathe. After waiting what seemed like 20 minutes for a break in traffic which would allow me to cross back over Richmond Road, I got back to the car wash only to find out that my car wasn’t ready yet. As the lobby was still full, I was forced to sit on one of the two wooden benches out front. I found that the low temperature wasn’t as bad as the wind, which was cutting like a knife. To take my mind off of the chill, I watched the workers diligently Windex windows and Armor All tires. I began to daydream, but was quickly brought back to reality by the loud sound of an engine revving up and then suddenly cutting out. To my right, I saw a young employee struggling to get a brand new Corvette over the speed bump at the exit of the carwash. I’m not much of a car enthusiast, but that vehicle demanded attention. It was a shiny black with even shinier black and chrome rims. Sleek; that’s a good way to describe it, and it certainly put my Honda Civic to shame. When the employee finally got the vehicle across the speed bump, one of the patrons in front of me began to giggle. He was a tall man, dressed in full army-issued attire (camouflage gear with tan G.I. boots). He began explaining to another male patron standing next to him that the Corvette was his, and that it was “pushing nearly 600 horsepower” due to a “supercharger” he had recently installed. That’s all I caught of the conversation, because my car was finally done. But, as I pulled out of the Buggy Bathe lot, I looked in my rearview mirror and noticed a crowd of guys surrounding the black Corvette. The owner had popped the hood and stood there smiling like a kid in a candy store, as the other ‘kids’ stood admiring his new ‘toy’.
Why have I never been to Buggy Bathe before? I’m not quite sure. It’s not that far away. It’s not in an area that would make me uncomfortable. I guess it boils down to the fact that, like most people, I’ve beaten a path into my routine and rarely stray from it. When my car needs a wash, and more importantly when I have the extra money, I normally just go to my favorite $10 place. In a way I guess that could be seen as a part of my comfort zone. I’ve been there before. I know how things work. I’ve found that sometimes trying new things, regardless of how simple or trivial the task may be, is unappealing. This is not to say that I don’t like the excitement and adventure that comes with trying new things, but again I have to reiterate the point that all too often human nature allows us to fall victim to that beaten path. In closing, while lack of previous experience left me with no idea of what to expect, I found that Buggy Bathe is a friendly business with an extremely diverse customer base. The next time I have twenty-bucks to spend on a car wash, I’ll probably go back.


The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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