Thursday, November 4, 2010

To The Laundromat We Go...

…when the washer is too small.

My perspective was a little skewed today. Grievances magnified to a mountain when actually just a mole hill. So as I was ready to sit and choose to do nothing this afternoon, my wise husband reminded me of a task I have wanted to get handled: a comforter and a sleeping bag washed. It had to go to the laundromat because my washer is not big enough for either of these items.

Loaded with the linens and two other errands I could run during the washin’ and the dryin’, I headed out. Two hours later I have a smile on my face and something accomplished.

I loaded the washer, put my quarterssssss (with a stutter) in the machine and hit start. Ssssssss (with a stutter) because inflation has occurred since last I used a laundry mat. After 20 quarters dropped into the machine, the timer said the wash would be finished in 16 minutes. So I headed around the corner to Lowes to grab a light bulb for my now dark freezer. How many Lowes employees does it take to figure out the one bulb needed is out of stock?

Four. I have never had such attention at Lowes before. All were pleasant and joking, but it was rather funny the number of those that were searching in this 10 foot stretch for that bulb.

I headed back to the laundromat to move items from the washin’ machine to the dryin’ machine. The machines timer is not exactly in check with actual time, so I got to sit for a few moments. I had noticed a gentleman there earlier, with his suitcase waiting for his clothes to finish. He was still there. As Andy Griffin’s medicare commercial came on, he scooted right up in front of the TV.

My attention was back to watching the timer as he walked back and started in front of me. He said something. Something loud. I thought he was addressing me so I said “excuse me.” Startled he said “oh, I’m sorry, I was talking to myself.” With a smile I said I understood. I had been there myself today. Wrong.

I forgot about laundry mats. One should be prepared for eccentrics of life. And with that the man sat down next to me and asked, “do you know about celebrities??”

Ummmm, not really. I don’t keep up with them.

He continued anyway. His out loud pondering had been a question of how Andy Griffin and Brad Paisley were related. I, have no idea. Then he proceeded with why he thought they were related. He left that thought and said he had just read today that Taylor Swift was not dating an older man. A real old man he said. Against better judgment I did just google this and the older man was all of 27 and apparently they are NOT dating any longer and nothing popped up about a new guy…

The man then spotted my shoes and asked where I got my shoes. Ok, so it is not that BIG of a strangeness, but ladies, when was the last time a man asked you where you got your shoes?

I can tell you the last time a man told me he LIKED my shoes – I was a secretary on the psych ward and a transvestite patient, that had partially amputated one of his legs, told me what great shoes I had on – that was when. So I stand by my feelings of men commenting on women’s shoes a little strange to me.

Back to today, he proceeded to tell me what great shoes Walmart has and then untied and pulled off his shoe to show me the built in Dr. Scholls heel pad. I wanted to laugh again. Only me…

I was saved from further conversation when CSI came back on the TV and he headed back to stand in front of the screen.

With clothes now dryin’ I headed to get a turn signal bulb. It was great. The auto store fella came out and replaced the blown one with a new one. No $65 service fee, just good ol’ fashioned niceness!

I returned to get my items from the laundromat and they were not quite dry. More quarters and a quick trip to the fabric store in the next parking lot. As I headed out of the laundromat, the gentleman had loaded up his suitcase and was out the door walking across the parking lot.

I noticed him again as I parked at the fabric store. He suddenly started running, suitcase in tow. I stopped for a second wondering why, and that is when I saw the bus. He struck a trot hollering and waving hoping they would see him. I noticed a lot of people getting off and quite a number waiting to get on the bus. I figured he would make, but if he was still there when I came out, I would, well maybe, offer him a ride. He was gone when I came out a few minutes later. And, I am sorry, I was glad. I am sure he was harmless, maybe, but I would have felt pulled, do I give him a ride? Or let him catch the next bus?

Now I am home. I had forgotten what it was like using a laundromat. The first four years, on my own, away from my parents, my Saturday mornings were spent at a laundromat. I did not mind at the time. It was a necessity. While I have not forgotten the convenience having those machines in my home – I had forgotten the entertainment value. I had forgotten the various lives you come in contact with and all that can be learned.

Today, the running of errands, the kindness of the auto parts store guy, the uniqueness of shoe man at the laundromat all came together to, as strange as it seems, put some perspective back into my day. Never underestimate the short, simple encounters during your day.

Hope you have an encounter that makes you laugh today too!



Sandi McBride said...

Not having been to the laundramat in a number of years, I was just as entertained by your version of it as if I'd been there myself and so glad you didn't have to give the poor old gentleman a ride. Would have been devastated to read the headline in the paper "Good Sam Neighbor talked to death. Crime Scene is Laundry Mat".

The Muse said...

i read this twice...
once i laughed...
second time i felt as if i was hitting the dessert bar for the next helpings.
what a bit of fun!
what a LOT of fun!

(how did the machines do after spending all that moola>)

Christie said...

I hear you...I've had to wash some comforters recently hem...$25 later!

I loved this post! Reading about your shoe man makes me think that maybe he's autistic. Just a thought.

Hilary said...

Well I never thought I'd say this, but thanks for bringing me along with you to the laundromat and other errands. I was very amused by your observations and I echo Sandi that I'm glad you didn't give him a ride. You just never know.

larkswing said...

Thank y'all from coming along :)

You know, Christie may be right. He was not rain man and did not have the prominent characteristics I have seen in many others with autism, but it is possible that he had some stage of autism.

Merrie said...

LOL... I remember laundramats and the "fun". I always seemed to make lots of friends, too.

Wanted to thank you for the comment and the direction to Sniffles and Smiles. It hit home!

One minute, I'm laughing and loving life and the next a memory floods my mind and I'm suddenly fighting the tears.

Life is certainly interesting and keeps us on our toes!

Finding Pam said...

That sorta creeps me out about him asking about your shoes. Maybe he was just lonely and you kept him occupied by listening.

All of my comforters have to be dry cleaned.

FancyHorse said...

You certainly had an interesting day! The one who suggested autism may be right. I don't know much about it, though.

word verification: untalat
I didn't want any talats anyway!

Gayle at Planet M Files said...

I haven't been to the laundromat in a long time. Yikes, that's a lot of money! You are so right, the short encounters of our days can make a day much more interesting!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

What a fantastic post, Lailani!!! I just decided to visit a few of my favorite friends today...and I'm SO glad I did!!! Look what I found!!! A piece of brilliant anecdotal writing!!! I laughed and smiled all the way through!!! You are so witty! Love it!! Love you! Janine XOur

FancyHorse said...

Lailani, if you Google "Chrismon ornaments" you come up with all kinds of info. Here is a good site:

Jules~ said...

Thank you so much for your prayers and recent comments about my dad.

Sounds like you had an interesting day indeed.
God bless you.