I Cured My Migraine at the Car Wash

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I don’t get migraines very often anymore, now that my ovaries are the size of Tic Tacs.  But sometimes, a confluence of circumstances—my husband, heat, bright light, my husband, stress, lack of sleep, my bokeh-lights_GJZUV2DOhusband—will bring on the spots before my eyes that signal an impending migraine.  Yesterday, it was all of those circumstances, but I think the tipping point was trying on plus size bathing suits on my plusser size body at Dillard’s in unforgiving fluorescent lighting. Let’s just say, that dressing room made my thighs look fat.

Headache Grief Worry or Fatigue

If I catch a migraine early, I can sometimes head it off.  Yesterday I took two Excedrin Migraine, splashed cold water on my face and neck, donned my sunglasses, and went to the purse department, which doesn’t have dressing rooms, mirrors, or judgy saleswomen who call over the half door, “Don’t be hard on yourself.”  (I guess she heard me weeping.)

The headache wasn’t getting worse, but it wasn’t getting better, either.  I felt far from the toss-your-cookies climax, so I decided to run one last errand:  get my seven-month old, electric blue Toyota Camry washed.


But the headache, oh the headache!  I ran into the BP station, paid for my car wash, and bought a Diet Coke, my preferred caffeine delivery system.  I rolled the icy bottle on the back of my neck as I walked to my car.  I blasted the AC, closed my eyes, and sipped the medicinal beverage.  But, still, my eyes were bulging from the pulsing demon raging in my head.

I was very tempted to just go home at this point, but I had paid $10 for the super duper sudsy special, and my car was splattered with mud and lots of white splats that weren’t mud, so I pulled the car up to the whatchamacallit where you key in the carwash code on a touchpad.

I had to open my window, which was tricky for me.  You see, I love as much of nature as I can see through closed car windows, so I had rarely opened my new car’s windows in the seven months I owned this car.  I looked for the cranky thing like I had in my old car, but found instead a panel of levers and buttons.  I randomly pushed and pulled until, finally, my car doordriver’s side window opened.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: She’s going to forget to close her window.  Well, that would just be stupid. No, I made sure to pull the correct lever for the driver’s side window and waited until it was up and hermetically sealed before heeding the green “Go” light.

I slowly drove in and waited for that George Jetson moment when everything revs up.  As soon as the first splat of rainbow-colored soap slapped my windshield, I tilted my aching noggin back on the headrest and closed my eyes.

Mere seconds later, I felt a cooling sensation on my neck, as if Tinkerbell had just sprinkled a little fairy dust back there. I sighed, and I am sure the security camera caught me smiling a bit.  ***************************************************************************67ad1c7f58e1af5648c32eca2f1f7c9ad4fd944ffee33adbc67ba304c823c152-700x525

Now, dear readers, imagine it’s Lucille Ball’s head, not mine, tilted back on that headrest. Then visualize her eyes flying wide open, false eyelashes flared, because what happened next was sort of like the famous I Love Lucy candy wrapping episode, except this time, instead of the relentless conveyor belt, there are big orange spongy mop tongues whirling around, reaching out to lick her through the other three windows “she” had accidentally opened while scrambling to find the right lever for the driver’s side.

The car wash was just warming up when it sprinkled refreshing drops on the back of “her” head, but now the soap spitting mechanism is hurling luggies into the car, landing on her sunglasses, pointy bosom, and white pedal pushers.

Can you hear Lucy screech as she randomly pushes and pulls at the controls? Do you hear the audience laugh because she only manages to move the rear view mirrors, not the windows?  Do you hear the audience gasp when she pushes the button that locks the windows?  Do you see how confused Lucy is that, no matter which levers she pulls and pushes, all three windows are still invitingly open?  Do you see her sputter as the last of the soap is dispensed in her wide-open mouth?  Do you see her relief as she deactivates the childproof lock which allows her to finally, finally close the windows, albeit too late?  *********************************************************************************

Now imagine me back in the driver’s seat, rolling slowly out as the fan dries what little moisture is left on the exterior of the vehicle.bokeh-lights_GJZUV2DO

I did not wail like Lucy would have when I pulled out of the car wash.  I sat for a minute, taking stock of the damage. I was seeing spots before my eyes again, as I always do when I have a migraine.

But here’s the thing:  I didn’t have a headache anymore.


The spots I was seeing were not migraine-related at all.  They were blue soap spots dotting the wet interior of my car.

When I got home, I had some splainin’ to do!



  1. Hilarious! I had so much fun reading this post, Sandy, I had to slow myself down so the reading lasted longer. :)

  2. Funny, not funny! Great read!

  3. Graphically hilarious. I loved it.

  4. Hilarious! And using Lucy as a visual…BRILLIANT!
    I will think of this every time I get my car washed!

  5. Loved it, Sandy. “ovaries the size of tic tacs” Ha!!!!!!!

  6. Sandy, I read this out loud to Jim in the car while traveling, and we laughed and laughed! You are too funny! (And I’m sorry about the soap in your car.) Loved how you told the story using Lucy!

    If it makes you feel any better, this Reminds me of the timevI I took my van to the car wash on the way home from the nearby vet. My cat was beside me on the passenger seat in his carry crate.

    Similarly to you, I accidentally, opened the sun roof a little bit when trying to close the back vent windows

    Poor cat! Fortunately, The top of the cat crate was mostly solid, and I got the sunroof closed pretty quickly. But your wonderful in the moment storytelling brought it all back.

    Thanks for sharing your stories, Sandy!

  7. I, too, have migraines and unfortunately, mine have not decreased even though “my ovaries are the size of tic tacs”, so I can totally empathize with you! As always, your story is hilarious, and I may just try the carwash the next time I have a headache!

  8. I could the picture the scene as if I were your unhelpful, snickering friend, Ethel Mertz, in the backseat, rolling my eyes and shouting advice!

    • Yes, Ethel, remember I’ve ridden in the “backseat” of your boat!

  9. Loved this…how did “Ricky” take it when you told him??!!

    • He just rolled his eyes–like he did when I got locked in a bathroom for 3 hours, fell into the dishwasher, and ran into a school bus on the way to school. As you know, this stuff happens to me all the time.

  10. Please please let this be fiction! Too funny! The Lucy allusion was perfect. You have a gift.

    • Completely true, and I didn’t exaggerate one bit! This kind of stuff happens to me all the time. Not particularly good at multi tasking–like treating a migraine and washing a car at the same time.

  11. OMG, Lucy! Great piece . . . ovaries the size of tic tacs (priceless). Hope the car is okay and may I suggest that this approach not be used to avoid future migraines? :)

    • Next time I get a migraine, maybe I’ll rewire the apartment or wallpaper or rotate the tires. What could go wrong?

  12. You are killing me Lingo, and I totally see you (Lucy) fumbling at the controls those kinds of things are so unimportant to you. This was a crack up.

    • Still killin’ you after all these years. Miss you!

  13. Hilarious! I too seldom know how to work all the do-hickeys in today’s cars. Whenever I rent a car, I pray I won’t need the wipers or lights. Crazy, I know. But at least I know how to operate the windows. Seriously, hope the interior is ok.

    • Thanks for reading, friend. One time I rented a car and couldn’t figure out how to open the gas cap! No Gomer Pyles at the gas station anymore to help you with that. I actually had to resort to reading the manual!

  14. This made my day. The visual is so real.

    • Our years together at Dulles were one “car wash” after another, weren’t they? Thanks for reading and responding.

  15. I never thought someone could put a funny twist to experiencing a migraine but you nailed it. I have less now as well but they are fierce when they come. I relate to your pain and enjoyed your humorous venture with the car wash.

    • I miss you on Tuesday mornings. Thanks for reading and responding.

  16. This was hilarious! It’s late at night and I am seriously laughing out loud as I read this. So well written…I enjoyed every word, every perfectly chosen adjective…just everything! I am in awe of your talent. Way to hit it out of the ballpark, Sandy…again!!

    • I hope you and your family are doing well. Thanks so much for reading and responding.

  17. This is SO funny! I can just picture it (and I can see myself doing the same thing!). What a great story! Thank you for sharing–and giving me a laugh-out-loud moment.

    • I miss your laugh-out loud stories on Tuesday mornings. Hope you are enjoying Thursdays.

  18. So funny Sandy. Next time we’re together I’ll tell you about my fight with a car wash!!!!

    • Can’t wait to hear it! It makes me so happy that we can at least stay in touch this way. Hope you are well.

  19. This was lots of fun, Sandy, and made me feel better about my own mechanical ineptitude now and then…

    • I really could write a book about my Lucy-like mishaps. Like the time I fell INTO the dishwasher and broke the door off. Or the time I locked myself in a bathroom for 3 hours when I was student teaching at Colerain Elementary. Or the time I ran into a school bus on the way to my teaching job.

  20. Well,you got me. I thought, yep she’s going to get soaked through the driver’s car window but you pulled me out of that worry quickly. Wasn’t ready for the other windows open.
    Loved the dots at the end.
    I’ll think of you every time I get the car washed. Thinking of you might motivate me to do it more often
    since a clean car is way down on the to do list.
    Fun read.
    Mary Ann

    • It makes me think that I don’t have the skill set to wash my car, and maybe I shouldn’t do it again. I think I will wash it once every couple years, like my husband. I think his car is held together by the dirt.

  21. You just can’t make this stuff up! I am laughing out loud – and will be for awhile! You’re the best, Sandy!

    • Some people thought I did make it up! I didn’t, and I didn’t even exaggerate!

  22. It’s possible you just headed off my weather headache at the pass with this story!

  23. Bwahahaha! I did not see this one coming!! That is too funny! I cannot imagine the mess inside your car! Did you tell the car wash people about this? They would get a big laugh out of this story, as we all did!

    • No, I was too embarrassed to tell them. Instead I wrote a blog so it would stay a secret.

  24. Thanks for your unique views on daily living, Sandy. I had to mop up the mascara dribbles & defog my readers after laughing & laughing & laughing!

    As always your glass will never be half empty. It’s more than half full, but we’re not always sure exactly what of!

    • I think you should be writing the blog. Your comment was funnier than my post!

  25. Ha. Hahaha. Hahahahahahaha! Great writing, Sandy! Very Erma-esque. My broken leg and I thank you! We feel better for the good laugh. Thanks, Sandy!

    • What??? Broken leg? I am so sorry!

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Sandy Lingo

Life itself is the proper binge.  - Julia Child

A writing friend said that when she reads my writing, she always wants a second helping.



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