Wednesday, May 12, 2010

That’s So Polish: The Always Clean Car

Washing the family cars was my job as a kid (along with raking the leaves, cleaning out the roof gutters and shoveling the snow), so I have always believed that I am more than capable of keeping my car(s) clean - until I came to Poland. Polish folks like their cars clean. I mean really clean, like once-a-week-washing clean.

And there is nothing wrong with that. "Cleanliness is next to godliness," they say and as my Grandmother used to say, “There’s nothing wrong with being poor, but there’s no excuse for being dirty.”

In Poland, in addition to the every day kind of clean, your car should also be cleaned before special holidays in which you may be driving around visiting family. Of course, you should wash your car before driving to a wedding or funeral or another similar occasion.

I’ve kind of given up competing with Polish drivers in their quest for a clean and shiny car. Maybe it is because I drive on a dirt (and mud) road several times a day, so my efforts would be futile anyway. Maybe it is just because I am lazy. Just call me “brudas”.

In Misiu’s hometown there is one very popular carwash. It isn’t cheap, but you can easily acquire enough points from the gas station for a free wash. There’s always a line of cars waiting to be washed…and in my opinion, not a one of them is dirty enough to warrant a wash. Those are the cleanest “dirty” cars I have ever seen.

On more than one occasion, I have been told by someone (usually a complete stranger) that I should wash my car. One parking attendant examined my super muddy SUV-ek and said, “Cars are to be washed, in case anyone hasn’t told you.” I replied that cars are first and foremost for driving, in case he didn’t know. And maybe that’s where I am wrong.

Maybe cars aren’t just for driving. Maybe they should look nice too. Maybe it really does say something about me that my cars are almost always dirty.

I was considering the title “Poland’s Got Talent” for this post. I’m referring to Polish people’s amazing talent of washing an entire vehicle with only one bucket of water. I have seen it done many times and am amazed that it is possible. Really, it can be done.

Wishing you sunny skies and shiny, clean cars!

10 comments:

Kasia said...

I think you're actually right :) God, I forgot the clean car craze - probably my OH's van is the dirties car I've ever seen (and he's Polish!) - but after all it's a van, used to keep some pretty dirty stuff in.

b. said...

this is so true and it carries to many of those who live outside of Poland. (not me though, I am a brudas as well :))

I have a lot of family in Connecticut and we were visiting them for a big family event - guess what - my aunt made us wash our car before getting to the hall :))))

Lukrecja z Borgiow said...

Now I remember why I decided to migrate to the States.
Simply, I don't give a sh... if my car is dirty or clean.
I can not imagine a stranger telling me that my car is dirty !!!
and above it all " What other people think of me it's none of my business"
Chris, I really feel for you.

Chris said...

I'm glad that I'm not the only one who noticed the clean car thing. Luckily, it's been raining so my cars look a little bit cleaner today :)

Titania yng Nghymru said...

ha ha, i bet u are enjoying all those washing jobs in poland, arent u? :P
the only thing i could add about poles washing their cars is that they would sooner wash their cars by themselves than take them to a car wash :P why? its simple. its cheaper :P

got an eng bf ;) i should recommend ur blog to him! he wants to buy a house in pl!

Simon Exton said...

Sorry Chris i dont have your e-mail so have to leave message on your comments.
Hope you don’t mind, I gave your blog details to a US TV production company that are looking for people that have relocated to Poland. The programs in the US & Canada is called “property hunters “
They're interested making a show about our move to Poland i thought they'd also be interested in your story.
Regards Simon "ahouseinpoland"

Chris said...

Titania yng Nghymru- Why should you pay somebody for what you can do yourself magically with only one bucket? Buying a house in Poland was a real adventure (it included the original owner coming back after we had purchased the house!)

Simon- Thanks. That sounds very interesting. I'll send a message to them right away. PS I really like the windows on your house. Our house still had the the original white windows from 1935 when we bought it and they were very similar to yours :)

Stardust said...

Chris, I guess I'm too American, but I don't get it, why the hell original owner came for? I'm renting different apartments (7) for the last 25 years in US and none of the owners ever show up at my doorsteps. What for? I pay the rent by mail, I live here, what they have to look for in my apartment??? WTF!!!

ds said...

I remember I used to wash my first car. maybe not once a week, but I wasn't driving a lot then. the car I have now was bought at the end of January and has never been washed so far (and I drive over 40 km everyday...) ;)

Chris said...

Stardust- It was a shock for me as well. I mean, you sell something and it is sold. End of story.

ds- Not washed since January...you are a lady after my own heart.