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Not just white… BRITE!

Sometimes I get nostalgic for our humble early twenties, when we lived in the little salt-box apartment building and had no money for soda and ate a lot of rice and pasta and couldn’t afford cable. I don’t know why, but it seemed much easier. Even though I literally had every minute of every day plotted in my day planner because I was working and taking 18 credits in school and working at the camp on the weekends and Esteban was working full time and then working part time at Best Buy. And our apartment was a disaster. But for some reason, it seemed so much easier then. We had about five hundred square feet, not a sprawling four bedroom house to clean. There was no garage with mice or potting shed that still needs to be painted. There were no flowerbeds that needed clearing or leaves to be raked.

Thus, I convinced myself that it would be easier to go to the Laundromat and do all of the laundry at once. Once again, this is one time in my life where a Greek chorus would have been helpful. They would have reminded me about trailer trash, about scary hair balls, about bachelors who come in and shove all of their clothes into one washer and then take up every dryer in the place. They would have reminded me about the smokers, about the fine covering of ash on every flat surface. They would have reminded me that the city has sprawled around my favorite little country Laundromat and now there are many many apartment buildings around it.

Everything at the Laundromat is now written in Spanish as well as English. In fact, I believe I am the only native English speaking person in the place who is also wearing a bra. My wad of laundry takes up seven double washers. I brought an almost empty bottle of Tide so that I wouldn’t have to lug a full one, but I run out midway through filling up the machines, thus I have to buy a little box of 50 cent powdered Tide from the machine there for the one giant $5 washer with my linens and pillows. And then there are directions in Spanish taped over the English instructions, so I accidentally put soap where the fabric softener is supposed to go, and thus am forced to run the $5 washer twice. But my sheets are now uber clean and not just white’ BRITE. Which right there proves that I am older than half of the planet.

The weird thing about this Laundromat is that, with the exception of the bilingual washing machines, nothing has really changed in eight years. The smell of chlorine is still there, the weird fuzziness of the corners from tons of accumulated lint. The spew sound of the washers finishing their cycle. There is even the requisite college girl doing the wash in her pajama pants. She’s with Chris Martin from Coldplay. (I swear, it was Chris Martin. Gwynnie, if you’re reading, your boyfriend is cheating on you with a girl who can’t even be bothered to get dressed at 3 pm on a Sunday afternoon.)

I buy $10 in quarters, but with the $5 Washer Debacle, I don’t have enough quarters, so it’s touch and go to see if I will have to jump in the car and find an ATM. Speaking of the car, mine is the only Chrysler in the lot, surrounded by lots of rust spots and custom paint jobs with teal stripes and magenta details and the names of owners written in white on the back window.

I inherently hate everyone here, just for being here, just for using dryers that I want to use, and picking their dryers at random, so that I have to put my stuff in dryers 1, 4, 7, 13, 14, and 15. The radio is playing ‘Maggie May’ and I hate Rod Stewart. Not for being in the Laundromat, I just don’t like Rod Stewart, and ‘Maggie May’ for some reason embodies every reason that I loathe Rod Stewart.

At a different time and a different place, Steven and I were listening to music that we could not control and ‘Maggie May’ came on and I sneered my little Rod Stewart sneer and said ‘Ugh.’ And Steven then made his grand daddy of all psychoanalysis claims by quipping ‘Oh, you just don’t like Rod Stewart because Kate liked him.’ Kate is his ex-girlfriend. From when he was 17. Seriously. I’m 32- years-old and he thinks I’m so Jennifer Jason Leigh on his ex that I will eschew certain spikey-haired blonde British singers for their very connection? I still don’t know what to make of Steven’s theory, but I think he’s deranged. Or needs to get over himself. I mean, I did marry him, so I’m thinking that I won. Or lost, depending on how you look at it.

I try to read my David Eggers book but end up getting irritated by his writing style and his general smarmy-assed view on the world, so instead I watched people. There is a kid who belonged to someone, bouncing around the room saying ‘One two three one two three’, which then turned into ‘one two PEE one two PEE’. And yes, that makes me laugh. I want to prompt him with ‘one poop pee’ but then I would be one of those crazy people in the Laundromat. Instead, I watch my whites in dryer. Two of my Dayam! Bras are being divas in the clear dryer window, perfectly formed as two torso-less breasts dancing amidst socks and Steven’s tighty-whities. I take several pictures, trying to capture the boobsome ballet. No one even looks at me twice, this crazy white girl taking pictures of her laundry in the dryer.

I lose track of which dryers are mine and throw two socks into someone else’s dryer. I try to tell him that he has my socks, but he doesn’t speak English and the only Spanish word that comes to my brain for ‘sock’ is profil’ctico. Which means \”condom\”. Thus, I lose two socks. And then I finally can leave, hauling my four hampers of dry and folded clothes, 18 hangers of wet-needing-to-air-dry clothes, and one big bucket of soaking wet 1000 thread count sheets, duvets and a mattress cover. The pillows are exactly like giant wet sponges. I accidentally drop one in the parking lot and it makes a Thwack sound hitting the pavement.

This is not my beautiful nostalgia. This is not my beautiful Laundromat.