We’d been at an all nite rock’n’roll party in a double wide outside Perris, way back in the hills, with dirt roads and recent rain and lots of mud. Car was filthy by the time we were back on the 215. We smelled Norco coming up–a lot of cows in Norco–and needed gas so we pulled off and filled up. The guy at the counter asked if I wanted a car wash with the gas. I’d never seen a drive-thru car wash in a gas station before so I said sure, the best. So after filling up, we made a tight turn and pulled into a miniature car wash tucked behind the station. All was silent for a moment, almost eerie, then whoosh, fwoom, clank, spritz, splash, and the car began moving through a tunnel with psychedelic suds and giant pummeling brushes and scrubbers and blowers and more psychedelic suds and more pummeling scrubbers and flopping squeegee windshield mop things and more colors–a lot of green and blue with streaks of pink and yellow–and more blowing till finally we emerged at the other end awash in air and the windshield alive with rinse water droplets trying to escape evaporation and we were back in the sunlight, gleaming. The car wash turned itself off behind us. All was silence.
Damn, missed a spot.
So we did it again, the whooshing and fwooming and clanking, the spritzing and splashing and the washes of psychedelic suds, the giant pummeling brushes and scrubbers and blowers and more psychedelic suds and more pummeling scrubbers and flopping squeegee windshield things and the greens and blues and pinks and yellows and more blowing and the droplets trying to escape evaporation. Then we were back in the sunlight again, and gleaming, and all was silence, all except Jimi Hendrix, who we’d cranked on halfway through, busily chopping down a mountain with the edge of his hand.
A few years later I was at work checking out the new site design. It was wild–colors and sounds and motion and music and was really cool. Overwhelming even. This virtual reality was a trip. I loved it. Afterward we were asked what we thought of it. I struggled for a comparison. Then it hit me. Virtual reality, I wrote, is like a drive thru car wash in Norco.
Which is another reason why I never made a million bucks in the Internet industry.