Jean-Marie, Béatrice's friend from Paris who let me borrow his car for four months has decided (for a variety of reasons) that he would like his car back. I am amazed that no harm has come to the poor vehicle in its time with me, and I am really grateful that Jean-Marie let a novice driver learn to drive and practice on his only means of transportation.
I want to give it back to him on Saturday morning in the same condition that it was in when he gave it to me so I spent some time today cleaning it up. I vacuumed it and cleaned the interior and removed Jed's rock collection from the seat pockets.
I then wanted to drive it through the car wash. I thought that this would be a simple task, but I did what I have learned to do here in this strange land. I carefully observed the two people in line ahead of me to see how they did it first. It STILL seemed pretty straight-forward.
Then it was my turn. I got up to the machine to select my wash, and it said, "Insert coins, tokens, or your card." Since there was a key pad next to the card option, I assumed that this meant that I could use my bank card so I did. The machine proceeded to make sounds of disapproval, but it did not spit out my card or give me any other options.
Fortunately, the man waiting patiently behind me got out of his car and came to my rescue. He said that the card slot is for "car wash cards," but he understood why I had misunderstood---being a stupid American and all. He didn't say that part, but that's how I felt.
Anyway, he got a paper clip out of his car, and freed my card. My hero! I didn't have any money so I drove straight through the car wash, went to get some gas and change, and then got in line again at the car wash. Over an hour after I began, I successfully washed the #*#* car, and it is ready to go home to Paris. Thank you, little Laguna for a fun ride! I'll miss you!