My school has a ‘service day’ every semester, when students are sent out to do good works of various kinds. Tomorrow, high-schoolers over 16 will be demolishing a house for Habitat for Humanity, while those under 16 (HforH has an age minimum) build a wheelchair ramp somewhere else. On Tuesday, the middle-schoolers washed cars for Wheels 4 Hope, a charity that refurbishes donated cars and gives them to needy families. I learned two interesting things on Tuesday:
1. A lot of middle-schoolers don’t consider washing cars in 90-degree heat to be work at all, as long as they can wear cutoffs or bathing suits and have control over the hoses. One of the 7th-grade girls convinced several of her classmates to go over to her house right after school and help wash all the family cars.
2. Until a few weeks ago, I had been driving a ’95 Tercel that has been bashed in twice on each side. (Three of the four bashes were done by hit-and-run drivers in the six months I lived in New York City, one while I was in the car by a guy in a pickup truck who threatened to kill for not yielding to him — he had a yield sign, I didn’t.) The driver’s seat is mostly bare foam, and there are several other things wrong with the car, but it runs and passes inspection, so it must be worth something. One of the school administrators had been suggesting that I give the Tercel to Wheels 4 Hope now that I’ve acquired a better car. When she came back from the car wash, she told me she doesn’t think it’s up their standards. Not a problem: I already had other plans for it.