An inside (detailing) job | ParkRecord.com

An inside (detailing) job

Teri Orr, Park Record columnist

I was explaining to a friend the other day how I needed to find a place that detailed not cars but humans. Not a spa — though that is always lovely — but something deeper and more personal and with love (and a bit of tough love). It was one of those revelations that comes when one is perhaps drying off the body after bathing while reading a trashy magazine. One catches a glimpse in the mirror and, besides the signs of aging, you glimpse the split ends and rough patches and you realize you have paid zero, really zero attention to yourself for, well, a really long time.

And you are a grown-up. You know what needs to be done. But you are somewhat bored by spending a lifetime doing it. And so you think, wouldn’t it be great to go someplace that spent their days accessing bodies and spirits just like yours and detailing the good bones of what was under there?

In the handful of times I have had my car detailed — most often by the dealership after some other service or repair — I am always shocked at how much I love my car all over again. I forget how beautiful the seats can look after a round of deep cleaning and leather lotion. How all the shiny chrome parts sparkle and floor spaces — without dried leaves or red dust from the desert — look welcoming. The car always feels both more spacious and intimate when it sparkles. The radio sounds clearer, the car runs smoother, and the vision out of the windshield seems endless.

I realize this isn’t logical or rational. I don’t care. I love my car when it has been buffed and polished. Is it so wrong to think that I could benefit from the same? I mean, I’d like to sparkle on the outside, sure, and oh boy howdy is that ever needed, but I’d really like to have an upgrade of information happen at the same time. Teri 2.0 would be useful to have/be. That person who fully understood how all her devices worked, was reading thoughtful books instead of just People magazine, and could converse about world politics from a studied position, not from a recent news feed. This upgraded version of me would calmly process a change in the climate, my bank account, the laundry room and make rational decisions based on time, savings and facts.

Alas, I have waited too long for that to evolve in some gentle organic way. In the mirror I realize my sweet hairdresser, who helped manage my aging wild curly hair, left the state in the fall. I have not replaced her and the result is kind of an unintended "Einstein in his later years" look to my coiffure. This is a look that clearly only my old friend Hank can pull off, and even Hank has chosen the more modified, dignified version of that hair. And of course he seems to have accessed how to do upgrades internally, often.

My appliances have always been very simpatico to all my neglect and energetic misdirection. We now know more about how electronic fields exist and course through our bodies and how it is about a great deal more than dragging our feet on the carpet and getting a shock at the doorknob. In my unusual (and perhaps scientific) investigation, I have the ability to disable previously working appliances and, in fact, render them useless, in some kind of reverse Jedi mind trick. Consider the past month alone where I have, without any conscious thought involved, managed to disable my oven, dishwasher, and in a perfect trifecta, the garage door opener. As a woman who lives alone there is no opportunity to say, "Oh honey, could you fix those things? Or arrange to have them fixed? Be home when the repairman arrives? And pay for it out of the household expenses account?"

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So, I have eaten those saucepan meals one can cook on the stovetop. Washed dishes by hand, and pulled the garage open with that handle thingy. Which is what happened to my favorite wooden stepstool…

As a short-ish person, the stool has been with me for years. Allowing me to access tall shelves in a single step. I drag it around from kitchen to laundry room to garage. So it was handy when I needed to be taller to pull the red handle to free my car from captivity when the opener didn’t. I got behind the car, pulled the handle and voila! The door was up. I hurriedly jumped behind the wheel and backed up thru the icicles hanging from the roof. Which seemed to make an inordinate amount of crunching noise and presented, it felt, like the tiniest bit of resistance which defied logic. Once fully free in the driveway, I jumped out to put the door down and I looked at the front of my car …which had underneath it, the splintered remains of my sweet stepstool.

There are other stories of inanimate carnage you don’t need to hear but know I am aware enough to hear the universe when it starts screaming at me like this. My resolve for the New Year is pretty simple: get detailed. I’m going to come up with a plan very soon perhaps this Sunday in the Park…

Teri Orr is a former editor of The Park Record. She is the director of the Park City Institute, which provides programming for the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Center for the Performing Arts.