Overcoming Obstacles

Is this the culprit?
Photo by: torbakhopper

In a lesson on how to overcome obstacles, I have a theory:

The entire universe does not want my car to be clean.

It’s true. It’s so very true.

Leroy the cat from across the street proved my theory. Months ago, my dirty car remained untouched by Leroy’s sneaky paws for a whole month. A light-tan haze settled onto the vehicle like powdered sugar to a doughnut.

However, when I finally took my car to the wash, Leroy decided to track his muddied paw prints from the back trunk, headed across the roof, climbed down the windshield and scampered across the front hood. My car joined the “dirty” category again. (Please note: Leroy only did this after I washed my car.) Leroy the cat certainly gave me a lesson on overcoming challenges.

Leroy is not the only force of nature determined to keep my car dirty. I am convinced that the rest of the universe does not want my car to be clean, either.

Here’s another example:

My car was dirty…again. I suppose I purposely kept it that way. You know–so my car would not become a target to all elements aiming to dirty it up again? However, a special event came up and I needed to wash my car.

The day before the event, I headed to the car wash across the mall. I drove in humming a happy tune, then I stopped to ask the attendant for a wash ticket. He wrote one up and he handed the receipt to me. I steered my way to the line that formed right before the wash entrance.

As I turned the corner, the tired-looking attendant guided me to maneuver my car wheels in perfect alignment with the tract. I rolled down my window and handed him my receipt. He didn’t look up from his clipboard as he recited in a bored, monotone voice, “Put your car in neutral, foot off the brakes.”

Then he slashed a faded pen mark on my receipt and he handed it back to me.

I rolled up my window and I turned up the music. I smiled like an eager child boarding an automated ride at Disneyland. My car moved forward.

A sudden splash blurred my front windshield as the attendant on the opposite side shot the power wash. As the roaring sound of the car wash increased, my little four-door haven protected me.

What it kind of looked like from the inside of my car.

As my car and I inched forward, a misted spray caressed the hood the way the market produce man carefully sprays the apples.

Aaaaaaah! Such paradise! I thought.

A giant mop shimmied back and forth like a hula skirt floating in the air as the Shamwow-type wipers gently glided across the hood. As my car continued in this path, it all went dark. My eyes widened with anticipated wonder.

Light slowly streamed in as the overhead mopping came to an end.

Scrub, scrub, scrub!

Then a series of rounded-cloth-bristles rotated on both sides of the car, scrubbing the sidewalls clean. Brown fluid streamed down the doors, leaving my car several ounces lighter from the washed-off haze that floated down the gutter. We then continued to a cascading sheet of liquid, supposedly leaving a protective shield against the everyday elements.

We were almost done.

What a pretty sheet of water!

We finally approached the wind tunnel blowing hard upon my hood. The windshield wipers slowly vibrated, then it gradually increased and started to lift off the glass as the air pressure increased. As my vehicle continued to move forward, the windshield wipers slowed to a still and the air passed over.

Emerging from the wash, I squinted my eyes in the bright sun to see two men in grey shirts, holding dry rags. After waiting for my car to roll out, their red rags seemed magnetically drawn to my car as they blotted every drop of liquid that remained.

After a tap on the hood and a thumbs up from the attendant, I drove forward with my clean car.

I started to hum again.

I squinted at the shine on the hood of my car. I blinked as I looked through my streak-free windows. I decided to celebrate with a quick shopping trip across the street.

All the world is beautiful when looking through clear glass windows! (:
Photo by: Nicholas A. Tonelli

I pulled into the asphalt parking lot. It was a sunny day, but I rejected the notion to park under a tree. I did not want my clean car to receive a bombardment of bird droppings.Avoiding all feathered friends in the parking lot.

After circling the parking lot, I found the perfect space. The sunny area was away from every tree, every ledge and every hangout spot where birds might abound. Certainly, no bird would do their business above my car here.

I entered the mall to celebrate my clean car.

Two hours later, I emerged from the mall. I hummed while heading to my clean car in the middle of the parking lot.

Then I stopped.

Before me, where I had previously parked my clean car, sat a car that I did not recognize.

In a clear line, starting from the back trunk, going straight across the hood and onto the windshield, lay a series of connect-the-dot-type bird droppings, still in a semi-liquid state…baking onto my car.

No, it can’t be. I thought. This isn’t my car.

But it was.

Maybe it’s one of those reality show tricks where they switch your car with someone else’s.

But it wasn’t.

My shoulders slumped as I fumbled for the keys. After beeping the door lock open, I grabbed the handle, opened the door, then silently got into what-couldn’t-have-been-my-car. Then I started it.

This is what my face must have looked like as I sat in the car…
Photo by: Tomi Tapio K

I sat still for a while as the splats on the windshield mockingly obstructed a part of my view of the outside world. Every drop seemed to take the shape of a large Pacific island. I assessed the situation.

If I look around the droppings, I can make it home.

Then, I shook my head. Nah. I’ll just spray it off with the wipers.

I turned on the windshield wiper and I pressed the spray lever.

As the windshield waved in front of me, the distinct shapes of the droppings gave way to smear itself across every untouched area of glass that remained. The window totally blurred. I pressed the handle for more water. It didn’t seem to help.

Eek! I should have left it alone! It’s getting worse!

And it was. A soupy paste mixed across the glass with every wipe and spray I attempted. It called for more drastic measures. I looked in my cup holder for the half-drunken bottle of Dasani water. I removed the cap and I opened the car door.

While trying to shield my face behind the window, I stretched my arm with bottled water in hand and I emptied the remaining amount of water onto the windshield.

With one big swoop, the wipers carried the sheet of water from across the windshield with smeared bird stuff and all, and batted it all back on to my arm.

I found my bottle of water…

With shocked haste, I pulled my dirty arm in, slammed the door shut and mumbled to myself, “Wipes…wipes….where are those disinfecting wipes????!!!!

After cleaning my arm off with the whole package of Wet Ones, I looked up. The windshield was clean.

Good enough.

After calming down, I drove home with my dirty car in silence. Then, as I pulled into the driveway, I started to chuckle.

The universe did it to me again! I thought.

There was no sense in fuming over that silly incident.

However, thanks to my unseen feathered friends, I learned a few lessons on overcoming challenges:

1. Don’t wash the car. OK. This is a given. Believe it or not, I tend to follow this creed for long periods of time. (:

2. Think things through rather than react instantly. Turning on the windshield wipers without thinking it through kind of made the situation worse. The amount of smearing (too graphic for me to really describe here) was just plain gross. Now, in hindsight, I could have doused the entire windshield with the Dasani, let things run down, then turn on the windshield wiper. It probably would have prevented a whole lot of smearing.

3. When working through challenges, it sometimes gets worse before it gets better. Yup. Just ask the smeared windshield. It had to endure a lot that day.

4. When going through challenges, keep on trying. I suppose I could have given up once the smearyness (yes, that’s a real word in my book) took hold of the windshield. Good thing I kept going. My windshield wiper thanked me afterwards.

5. Laugh. Why waste one moment being upset? All it took was a little adjustment in my attitude towards the whole situation and I was good to go.

6. Laugh again. Yup…this means it’s important.

7. Be grateful. Considering the problem at hand, I still had a lot to be grateful for…1. Another reason to laugh 2. The opportunity to get some extra exercise when I went home and rewashed the car. 3. A good story to write about. See???!!! There are plenty of things to be grateful for!  😉

Well, my Sweet Friend, do you have challenges? I hope you are faring well with overcoming the challenges you’re going through.

One thing I do know:


Have an amazing day!


The Happy Balance Girl

Copyright 2015 by Stacey Shimabukuro-Lui. All rights reserved.

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