It is time for me to come clean about some things and one of them is I enjoy going to the laundromat. When my building's washer came down with the ooo (out of order) flu, I didn't see it as a curse.
I saw it as a blessing.
The tricky part was deciding which laundromat to go to. Should I walk to the one three and a half blocks due north or the one three and a half blocks southwest?
After much careful contemplation, weighing pros and cons and all my clothes, I decided on the one in the southwest. I've been wanting to go to the Southwest, and this would set me on my path. It also involved walking downhill. And the laundromat itself was usually empty, so if any major decisions awaited, I could meditate.
Like any journey, mine to the southwest laundromat began with a single step. As I stepped, my huge backpack slung over my shoulders and my enormous duffel dangling from my right hand, I couldn't help but reflect that when I traveled through Europe for five weeks, I had carried far less.
What is life for, if not a heavy duty schlep every now and then?
Once I arrived, I had to decide whether to use Giant Washer for $6.50, Medium Washer for $3, or Little Washer for $2.25. Of course, I meditated. I also jingled my quarter collection. I loaded my change into two Little Washers.
Next I had to decide which setting to use--whites, delicates, permanent press, colors, or bright colors. That decision was easy; I chose bright colors. After all, I didn't want to end up in a lot of hot water.
I then sat at a purple picnic table. I opened my book.
All was well.
Until a man walked in. Not just any man. A tall man with yellow hair and a brown plaid flannel shirt who dared to lift the lid of one of my washers.
"That's mine," I said.
"Sorry," he said. "Sorry."
I should hope so. My fleeces were spinning around, having the time of their lives. They did not wish to be disturbed.
Cling cling. Cling cling cling. A man in gray and black flung his change through the slot. It sounded like he had won the slot machine lottery. I expected lights to flash and people to jump up and down, congratulating him. Instead, the dryer whirred, content in permanent pressdom.
By accident, I closed the dryer door on my green fleece sleeve. Ouch. I opened the door, apologizing over and over.
I watched my red, purple, yellow, blue, and green clothes tumble dry low. Sure, I had my book, but this was more exciting. I even turned to the woman seated behind me and said, "Hope I'm not spoiling your view."
In no time at all, it was time to pack my bags. I guess it's true--time does fly when you're having fun.
I felt a little sad as I made my goodbyes--to the washers big and small, the dryers, the metal carts that zoom across the floor.
Someday I would return.
Causes Eva Schlesinger Supports
Center For Young Women's Development
Alameda County Library Foundation