Laundromat Blues

<laundromat_blues>Sitting here in the Super Suds Coin Wash watching filthy, musty old sleeping bags agitate in big front-loading “Texas” washers. There’s only one guy in here that might’ve made me feel a little nervous back in the day. Most of the rest are just typical laundromat characters, older guys of various ethnic backgrounds, kind of sad and lonely looking. Or maybe just tired at this early hour of the morning. The kind of guys that look the other way the minute I take out my powerbook. A woman with a computer? Yikes, stay away from her! And that’s good because I can hide behind this thing, typing and watching people while I’m at it.

Now there is a mom with a couple of little girls. I used to spend a lot of time in laundromats with little girls. Sometimes they would whine or complain or fight. One time Mrs. Piche, who used to run the now-defunct Soo Plaza Laundromat, took it upon herself to break up a little scuffle between my then two- and four-year-old daughters. Mrs. Piche was much more effective at discipline than I was. I used to think I couldn’t wait until those kids grew up enough that they might actually be of some reasonable help. Either that or I could leave them home and just rip through the laundry by myself. Now I see that other mom and I miss them.

The weird guy that used to bag groceries over at the Westgate Kroger is not here. I think his problem was probably Tourette’s. He used to blurt things out randomly. Usually it was just monosyllabic nonsense but one day he got stuck on “paper or plastic?” and was asking every customer that over and over and over and over. Arlene the cashier and I rolled our eyes in unison. Who wound him up, I wondered. Anyway, I used to have a POC-style washing machine, so I was at the Super Suds a lot for a few years and I used to see him over here sometimes. He would always try to strike up some kind of strange, unintelligible conversation with me. Like, say what? I’d probably talk to him nowadays. What the heck, potential blahgging material maybe. But that was back when I was a young mom with a couple of little girls and he just kind of creeped me out. I haven’t seen him in forever. I wonder if he’s dead.</laundromat_blues>

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