It’s Monday night. I’m sitting on a rickety wooden bench inside the neighbourhood laundromat, waiting for my load of laundry. I brought a book to read, but I’m not feeling it. I’m engaged in an internal monologue.
I put my rectangular George Washington into the change machine (except I didn’t put in the right way up the first time, with his head faced up and letters readable with your head tilted right), and got back four round George Washingtons. I did that four more times. Each time I had to flatten out the bill so it’d fit into the slit.
This is real life. Doing laundry, and the mundane stuff. Normal life. It’s so normal and typical that it feels like I’m in a movie. You know those scenes in movies that take place in laundromats? Yeah. I’ve never been to a really nice laundromat, if those exist. They all seem kind of old and worn, with paint chipping off the window ledges and linoleum times chipping at the corners. Even the washing machines rattle and groan the way I’d imagine my bones to rattle and groan one day after too many days. I like it though. I like the this scent of fabric softener and fresh laundry. I like that this place isn’t trying to be more than it is; no rhombus shaped slab typefaced logo or non GMO organic labels on the detergent. It’s just another laundromat.
The signs on the wall are hand painted in multicolored bubbly letters, and translated into Spanish, saying things like “all washers run for 25 minutes” and “DRYERS: 8 minutes for each quarter”, or “Las lavadoras corren 25 min” and “Las secadoras 8 minutos, cada 25 centavos”.
I traded three of my quarters for a Tide single detergent packet. This time, I remembered to put the detergent into the washer before the laundry. Back at home, I’d always put the laundry in before the detergent, but the instructions diagram on these washers say to put the detergent in first. So I put my detergent in first. Then I stuffed in three weeks worth of dirty socks and underwear and coffee/grass stained clothes. I traded another nine quarters and 27 minutes for a clean load of wet laundry.
And another 3 quarters for 24 minutes of dryer time.
It’s 47 minutes to closing and the owner is here now. He’s cleaning out the lint in the dryers. I’m glad to know someone takes care of this place.