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Mobile devices cause mobility woes at car wash

Joey DiPaolo, attendant at Durango Rapid Wash, makes a clean case for patrons not to get their wires crossed when using their wireless.

Do cellphones disrupt the computers in an automatic car wash? What is the safety issue at Durango Rapid Wash, across from Durango High School? I feel like I’m boarding an airplane with the warning signs. – Rose Royce

If Durango Rapid Wash wanted to be more like the airport, you’d have to take off your shoes before entering.

But the signs do have a certain T.S.A quality to them.

A big blue and green placard at the car-wash pay station advises: “ATTENTION: For your safety & the safety of the attendant, please DO NOT use cell phones.”

Ten feet further, another sign reiterates: “We’re Serious! No Cell Phone Use.”

It turns out that cellphones can and do disable computers.

But not the ones controlling the automatic car wash.

They interfere with the microprocessors inside the heads of people waiting in line.

That was confirmed during a nice chat with car wash attendant Joey DiPaola, who has been spiffing your ride for the past year and a half.

Joey is awash in sudsy sagas of unrebuffed buffoonery prior to presoak.

“I don’t know what it is, but when people are on the phone, they just don’t pay attention,” he lamented. “It’s gotten so bad that we won’t go out to help people if they are talking on the phone.”

You’ve heard of distracted driving. Now we have distracted washing.

When you enter the car wash, there are four simple, clear instructions with flashing lights: “Car in neutral, antennae down, foot off brake, hands off steering.”

But it’s to no avail for those availing themselves to scourge of wireless technology.

“When people are on the phone, they just don’t track,” Joey said.

Some people are so busy yammering away that they forget to actually go into to the car wash.

“Then we’ve had people put their car in reverse, so at the end of the wash, when the car gets off the track, it zooms back into the machinery.”

Joey even heard of a case, before his tenure, of a space cadet who launched a car through the side window of the building.

“It really is a safety issue. Can’t everyone just be off the cell phone for a couple of minutes so they don’t hurt their car, the machinery or us?”

Perhaps we need a new bumper sticker: “Hang up and wash.”

It also brings up another issue.

Have we gotten to the point that we must now have signs telling us to read the signs?

Perhaps city officials should erect notices on every street corner advising thusly: “All visible signs must conform to the Durango Sign Code.”

Instead of the “Welcome to historic Durango” sign at the entrance to town, we should add below it “Follow all posted notices!”

That would certainly get Durango into another Top 10 List. This one from the National Sign Makers Association for most abundant municipal directives.

Even so, no one will notice. They’re on their cellphones.

Email questions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can ask for anonymity if knew that Rose Royce was the band whose debut single “Car Wash” was a disco hit in 1976.