Friends politely hide their horror when I tell them I only wash my car about once a month. And even that statement needs qualification – “wash” doesn’t mean I roll up my sleeves and get the pail and sponge out; it means I head for my nearest petrol station car wash and hand over eight bucks, plus tip if the uncle does a half-decent job.
I’m not too fussed about dings or minor blemishes, either – when the car accumulates enough of these, I’ll usually send it in for a general bodywork touch-up.
So I don’t “get” the detailing enthusiasts who spend more time cleaning and polishing their cars than driving them, who want to comb their hair in their paintwork’s reflection, and who endlessly obsess over the slightest smear, scratch or ding to afflict their beloved ride.
I even know a guy who’ll leave his car at home and take the train if it’s raining.
Yes, in Singapore the car probably represents a fair proportion of one’s net worth, so I can see why it’s so treasured. But at the same time, precisely because we’re paying so much, shouldn’t the car be the owner’s slave, and not the other way around?
Treating the car as an objet d’art just doesn’t work here, if you intend to actually use it as a means of transport. Because no matter how exquisitely polished, waxed and buffed your car is, the moment it emerges from your (presumably covered) garage, it’s at the mercy of road grime, pooping birds, tree sap and parking dings.