The Laundromat

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So my new place doesn’t have a washer and dryer on site, which is really annoying. I had to carry my human sized laundry bag to my car (took like three breaks in between my stairs, the front yard, and the driveway), and then drove my lazy butt to the nearest laundromat today. An overpriced place with industrial sized dryers.

Is it just me, or does the laundromat always feels like you are entering your own private Twilight Zone?

So there I was, paying for parking like a good citizen, dragging my huge bag into the building, sweating like a purple pig (I was wearing a purple shirt), when I realize I have no quarters. I look over to the giant counter on the back of the laundromat and see an old man (he looked like what Kobe Bryant might look like in 40 years) chilling and reading a paper.

Interesting Person Post: The Old Man Behind the Counter
He must have broken hearts in his days. He had this smile about him that made you giggle instantly. Unfortunately, I had read on Yelp that someone was sexually harassed by a worker on this site, so my guard was up.

“Excuse me sir, do you have a change machine?” I asked.
“Where’s your bag?” He said as he looked over his lenses and his newspaper. I pointed to the huge bag by the washer, which was already tipping over from its own weight. We both leaned our heads to the side as it slowly fell  over.

“To your left,” he said.

I put in $1 bills until I get to $10. The man must have thought I was a stripper because he kept giving me this squinty eye. So I walked back to my bag and started unloading.

At one point I looked over my shoulder and saw him staring at me intently. I pretended to look up at the television quickly, so as to not create an awkward moment with this complete stranger. I’m really awkward as it is.

After loading three machines full of my stuff, I see the man shuffle his way to me. I freeze in space. I thought, oh no…sexual harassment, sexual harassment! —as you can tell, Yelp has been both helpful with location finding and traumatizing with their comments/reports.

By the time all this is processing in my head the man is standing next to me.

“Follow me,” he says.

Where to?! I think to myself, a dark alley? A closet? The corner of the room? Oh no…no, I can’t handle this. You could be my grandpa!

“Excuse me?” I say.

And he moves his finger as if to say, Come hither, gesturing towards the vending machine. I walk over tentitively and decide to develop an androgynous swagger as I do. All the while thinking, oh God, please don’t let this weird but nice old man say something creepy to me.

“What do you want?” he says, and points to the vending machine.
What do I want?! I say in my head, Why? Why sir?! What do you want from me?!!!

“I’m not hungry.” I lie.
“Come on now, I just put in about $1 worth of quarters,” he smiles.
“No, no, I just had dinner.” I lied again, hoping he’ll drop it. I didn’t want to be in debt with a potential sexual harasser.

“Listen here,” he says, “just pick something. The money’s already inside. Besides, I can’t stand your chewing!”
“My what?” I say a bit confused.
“Well, I don’t mind the chewing really, but you’ve been popping that gum ever since you walked in here and it’s driving me crazy!”

: /

I smiled even bigger now. I grabbed my dried piece of gum and threw it in the trash.

“There you go sir, this is your work space and I don’t want to disturb it!” Maybe I said it a little too loudly because his eyebrows went up, but all I was really saying (the subtext) was: Oh, thank God you’re not a creeper, DAMN YOU YELP!

“Pick something, I don’t want you to take it personal now…”
“Kit-Kat!!” I say.

I watch the chocolate fall from it’s C1 location and stumble to the small door. He reaches down for it and hands it over to me. “Thank you,” he says, and shuffles his way back to the counter and sits behind his paper.

 

The moral of the story is, don’t believe everything you read on the internet.   😉

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2 thoughts on “The Laundromat

  1. I love it. So tense! Such a relief at the end. So well written. Yay!
    Plus I’m glad you got to the Laundromat – I live in London, and so I don’t drive. When we didn’t have a washer, I had to walk two blocks to get to our local laundromat, so I feel the pain of the heavy body bag that is the laundry. How do clothes weigh so much?!

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    1. I know what you mean. I have a theory that clothes not only carry our grime (I really tried using another word other than grime, but that word is so appropriate)—but our dirty laundry also carry our worries, our stress, our dramas. And that is why we love the smell of fresh laundry. It’s a new start. I should really look into marketing my ramblings.

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