Overlooking the imperfections a must

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By Carolyn Risner

My car suffers from a bad case of dutch elm disease. Or oak blight.

I guess whatever ailment it has comes from parking under the trees at my house.

Being vertically challenged, I don't see the roof of the car.

Perhaps that's why I didn't know the car was ailing from some alien rash.

Sunday afternoon brought it all home.

I washed-yes, hand-washed-my car. That in itself is an accomplishment.

I am not a car washer.

It's a bone of contention between Tom and me.

He reasons if you have a major investment, like a car, you should take some pride in ownership and keep it looking good.

On one hand, he is right. It was a major investment. I worked three jobs for 18 months to pay cash for that car. I scrimped, saved and sacrificed so I wouldn't have a monthly payment.

I'm more inclined though to take care of its maintenance rather than focusing on the aesthetics. Peer into the back seat on any given day and you'll see food, clothing, cosmetics, books, maps, gift wrap-the list is endless. She may be a mess, but she runs just fine.

So, there I am sponge in hand and the first thing I see when I climb onto the running board to see the roof are all these black, resin-like spots.

I scrubbed and scrubbed and got most off.

Moving down to the sides and door and on my haunches nonetheless, I continued to scrub away at tree goop, only it wasn't coming off.

That's when it dawned on me it wasn't goop. It was metal where the paint had flecked off from parking lot dings and rocks on dirt roads.

The more I washed, the more imperfections I discovered.

Underneath the grayness of the dirt, oil and tree goop, my seemingly little white jewel was nothing more than a tarnished piece of metal.

I quickly finished the job with a new resolve: No more hand-washing.

What you don't know won't hurt you and when you have a major investment, like a car, it's better to overlook the imperfections than spoil a Sunday afternoon futilely scrubbing away oak blight.