Four things conspired to make traveling via automobile an interesting affair this fine day:
- Excavation crews were digging up the sewer system under the street across from my house.
- Said crews fill their excavations with quick-drying asphalt each evening. I believe that this quick-drying asphalt contains a higher percentage of tar than your ordinary, run-of-the-mill asphalt. I further believe that the process of applying this asphalt tends to partially aerosolize a great deal of tar, causing it to drift gently down in a disgusting, sticky film on the surrounding area.
- My car was parked on said street, just a bit from where all this activity was going on.
- It was raining like, and I’m going to use a technical term here, the woollyboogers this morning. (We’ll leave the fact that it should be snowing instead of raining, since it is, after all, you know, winter for another post).
Now, some days, particularly before I’ve had my coffee, I’m not the quickest on the draw, if you catch my drift, and so I spent my morning commute and a good bit of a run to the computer store during lunch cursing my windshield wipers for their general ineffectiveness in facilitating my ability to see the road, the sort of general thing that one tends to take for granted, up until the point when one is forced to do without it.
As the rain poured down, a very simple equation dawned on me, not unlike a mercury vapor bulb, omnipresent in middle school gymnasiums the world over, powering on: slowly at first, followed by a rather sudden and illuminating moment after which all becomes clear.
Tar + agitation of road surface + proximity of vehicle to source of agitation = holy freakin’ crap my car is covered in tar.
Having determined that large amounts of previously liquefied and synthesized dinosaurs lay at the source of my severe automotive myopia, I set forth to the local Pep Boys in search of anti-tar solvents.
Twenty minutes and a credit card transaction later, I exited the store and proceeded, with Aron’s help, to give my car windows a good scrubbing with the aid of some foul-smelling concoction that I’m sure will either stunt my growth, give me cancer, cause me to pick up CIA radio chatter on my fillings, or some mixture of the three. It was at this time that a gentleman exiting the Pep Boys noted my situation and helpfully offered: “You know, those products don’t work as well as a bottle of Coke. Next time, try that.”