hand washed bittersweetness
the emotional highs and lows when you wash your car by hand
The sweetness of admiring the many angels, curves, edges, and texture of the vehicle. Making you feel like a designer molding a scale clay model as you layer a coat of suds over the paint. You listen to Kenny Rodger as he tells you what condition his condition is in as you stand back to admire the vehicle covered in soap before reaching for the hose or water bucket.
Then comes the bitterness of noticing all the little flaws in the paint. Clips that you prayed were stuck on dirt feel concave to the touch. Scratches that weren't there before. Dings from crowded parking lots that you never noticed until now. It's enough to make you fantasize about giving your ride a Frame-off restoration to make it 100% new again. But another part of you is happy because it shows that this vehicle has lived a life with you. It's developing a character that is being molded by your hand.
You start layering on the wax, never missing the opportunity to make a "wax on, wax off" reference to yourself. Taking it in sections so you can admire the difference as you go long. Feeling the muscles in your hands go stiff as you try to make every piece of stainless or chrome shine like a diamond reflecting off a mirror in August.
Maybe that's why so many of us often stop and stare at a freshly washed car for minutes on end. A labor of love. A physical thank you for the smiles these machines put on our faces and the memories they hold in between their seats.