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Alexa, Tovala and the Brown Bear Car Wash
by Jerry Guarino

Jennifer was a thoroughly modern young woman. She had a degree from an elite, but not pretentious, university, a good job in a non-profit and an attractive face, physique and personality. In short, she should be quite content. But there was one aspect of her life lacking, a loving partner.

She wasn’t too particular, in fact she dated quite a bit. Men found her auburn hair and freckles enticing, giving her a wholesome and girl next door look. She looked like she could still play college soccer, where she starred as a midfielder. More often than not, she would have a pleasant meeting in a coffee shop or park and decide not to pursue the gentleman in question while making him feel some magic in the rejection. No drama, just a fun first and last date. Men remember those women.

She always began her day with a request to her electronic assistant. “Alexa, start my day.” Her echo show would rattle off the weather, news and commuting facts for the day. “Alexa, play my morning playlist.” Alexa played an upbeat collection of songs, perfect for showering and dressing. 30 minutes later, she interrupted the music. “Alexa, when is my first meeting?” Alexa reminded her to be in Berkeley for a 10:00am conference.

On her way out the door, she paused to get a cup of tea and check the fridge for dinner ideas. A new shipment of Tovala meals brightened her gaze. “I think I’ll have the Mediterranean Chicken and Veggies.” You can tell her life was organized and efficient. Dinner would require only a minute of prep, then pop into the oven for 20 minutes. “If only I could find a guy with the ease of cooking dinner. Oh, well, I have a lot to be thankful for.”

This even temperament was evident to everyone who met her. She was as popular in the workplace as she was in college. Her work was meaningful, providing aid to refugees escaping from war torn countries. Lawyers and government types offered her jobs in their organizations, but she preferred a low-key work life. She had no time or interest in politics or the machinations of legal scheming.

The Friday conference ended in the early afternoon so Jennifer decided to get a car wash before heading home, for another uneventful weekend.

She pulled up to the Brown Bear Car Wash, entered her payment into the electronic kiosk and waited for the bar to raise and let her into the wet and soapy tunnel. Amidst the brown and yellow color schemes were iconic bear graphic figures, smiling, because all car wash bears smile. Following the instructions on the digital signage, she rolled up her window, put the car in neutral and took her foot of the brake. That’s when she saw him, a clean cut (of course) man in his early twenties, soaping the front of her BMW. When he looked up, their eyes locked. But the car was now moving into the wash cycle. Jennifer smiled as did her admirer, but the slow-moving car did not allow for conversation. The young man continued to soap the driver side and rear of the car and watched as the young lovely slipped out of sight into the watery machine.

But Jennifer would not be deterred. After the car went through the drying cycle, she turned around and paid for another wash. This time she had her name and phone number on her phone and held it up for the young man to see. But he wasn’t there! A young woman had taken his place.

Jennifer sighed. As she finished her second car wash, she saw the young man standing with a towel and a smile. They talked, exchanged numbers and parted with great expectations. That weekend, the man came over to her apartment for a romantic date, aided by an Alexa playlist, a Tovala dinner and an impeccably clean car.

Alexa, Tovala and the Brown Bear Car Wash by Jerry Guarino
Copyright September, 2021 – All Rights Reserved