Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Waxing a Sidekick

Here is an embarrassing story.  When I was in high school I did a lot of sports: football, rugby, soccer, hockey, and I did some long distance running.  At one point my track coach asked if I wanted to participate in the steeplechase race.  This is the race where you have to go over these 914 mm (36 in) barriers every 200 meters on the track.  On most tracks you will see a water pit on the far end with a steeple right before it.  Some people step on them then push themselves off.  I saw the competition when horses performed this race though and figured I would do the same.  So I just jumped over the steeples.  I won a couple of races in the districts and came third in the regional competition.

These sports especially the track and field gave me fairly large leg muscles and a great deal of energy.  After high school I stopped most of these sports though.  However, the leg muscles and the energy still remained leaving a s a consequence I was quite hyper.  I did the next best thing of jumping steeples.  I jumped cars.  Seriously, I could clear a normal sized car hood with little effort.  It gave me a burst of energy and was fun.  This all stopped when I met my next challenger one summer's eve. 

My best friend and I were at the local grocery store in his mother's Suzuki Sidekick.  His parent's were on vacation and left us the house and this car.   A Suzuki Sidekick that is a little jeep.  It is not that high off the ground.  This day I had the excess energy. Normally when I jumped cars I did not think too much about whether I could do it.  I just, well did it.  I came of the grocery story running towards this white mini-jeep.  My friend and his brother were in the car wondering what I am doing.  I was sitting in the passenger side.  Instead of running around like a normal person I am ran straight for the hood.

Before I jump my feet get less spaced and my motions become quicker to build up more momentum.  It is a nice cadence with my feet: one duh...two duh. duh..three...dud duh duh. and I jumped. I found myself on the other side of the mini-jeep.  Did I do it?  Did I jump the Sidekick?  I was on the ground in pain.  I must have rolled over the mini-jeep.  My friend jumped out of the driver side.  He is calm.  He looks down at me.  I am holding my leg in pain.  I am bleeding a little bit.  'Look what you did man.'  I get up off the ground still in pain.  Limp towards the front driver's side fender.  It is dented with a clear imprint of my knee.  A good 20 cm diameter dent.  The worse part was his parents were coming back from a trip from Arizona in three days! 

Luckily my friend worked for a major distributor of autobody supplies.  So if you are going to dent someone's car or dent your own he is the best guy with which to talk.  Two days and three hundred dollars later the Sidekick's front fender was fixed.  My leg and ego still had bruises.  When we looked at it something was a bit off.  The paint!!! Overtime the paint fades from exposure to sunlight.  The new paint of the Sidekick's front driver's side fender stuck out like a pirate at a ninja party.  'Wax!', my friend exclaimed. 

We were at the warehouse with a full supply of autobody supplies and of course the best of the best wax.  Down the wax aisle we pick out the best Meguiars hydrophobic wax.  The waxy surface increases the surface tension on the car. Waxes are organic compounds that characteristically consist of long alkyl chains. Natural waxes are typically esters of fatty acids and long chain alcohols.  They are hydrophobic so when you apply it to a car the water rolls off the paint surface.  Most people do not want water to remain too long on the car.  If water remains and dries on the paint it may leave some water spots and cause fading. Waxes are some of the most expensive elements of the detailing process and are used for aesthetic than performance purposes.  In this case we needed the wax for aesthetic purposes.  When I finished washing and waxing every inch of the car nobody could tell the the car was recently painted on the fender. 

We were sitting in my friend's house when his parents arrived a day later.  'What happened to my Sidekick?', his mother asked.  'We washed it and waxed it.' my friend replied.  I hid my bruised knee.  'Weird', she remarked back. Three years after that event when the Suzuki was traded for a Audi told the truth behind the Sidekick wax story.  I didn't ever dare to jump the Audi.