Things For People

No strong convictions about this blog site to speak of. Just occasional musings inspired by things that transpire outside my window: LAPD helicopters searching for fugitives, transvestite prostitutes wrestling with their pimps at 3am, and the chubby kid next door who sings in the shower 4 times per day.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Laundry Day

Today is laundry day. There is a bar next door to the laundromat that serves up the best cheap hot pastrami sandwich in LA. The bartenders have loose wrists, so it ends up costing about the same to drink vodka and eat a meal as it does to feed an infinite number of quarters into the shaky yellow machines that have a maximum capacity of 2 shirts and a towel. There is a really pretty girl in the laundromat today. After a couple of drinks I decide that this will be the day I will employ some sveldt charm and approach her confidently. "What am I supposed to say to her? I'm wearing shorts that fit like a skirt, a poorly crafted, overly tight t-shirt, black socks, and tennis shoes. Plus, I smell like alcohol, cigarettes, and sweat." hmmm. ummm. hmmm. ummm. "Hey, wait a minute. She's wearing her laundry day clothes too. Maybe I should casually mention how everyone wears their worst clothes on laundry day because they don't care when they get washed again. Then I will give her the old heh heh. But what if that's what she wears all the time? She'll be offended. I could just be bold and ask her to join me at the bar next door. No, that's no good. She probably doesn't drink at noon on a Sunday." So, I decide to wing it. I follow her (non-threatening like) to where she is putting her clothes into a dryer. I put my clothes in the dryer right next to hers. "Ask what her name is, tell her you like the book she's reading, something, now you're just staring at her like a weirdo." Back to the bar. As I sip a vodka tonic I watch a hillbilly sporting event that turns out to be quite fascinating. A cowboy on a horse separates a cow from the rest of the confused herd of cows locked inside of a rodeo arena. Cows instinctively flock together (is that the right word? Do they bovine together? Bovine probably can't be used as a verb). When one is separated it desperately attempts to reunite itself with the herd. The cowboy and horse's job is to prevent the cow from reaching the herd. I notice that the cowboys aren’t doing much during this cat and mouse game. The horse knows what its role is, and with the cow it plays the old 'walking down a hallway as a stranger comes toward you, and you both try to avoid each other in the same direction, and subsequently compensate by shifting laterally in the other direction at the same time, and back and forth until someone finally says, "Would you like to dance?"' Maybe nobody says that, but they should say that because it's funny. Funny in the Gallagher way. Gallagher and his melon-smashing shenanigans. Time to pull the clothes out of the dryer. There she is. Looking all pretty and laundry day casual. She’s folding her clothes neatly as she removes them from the dryer, while I pull mine out in a lump sum and dump them into the cracked laundry basket that is lined with dog hair. One of my articles of clothing manages to fall from my dryer into the basket of clothes she was folding. Oh boy that's golden. Oh crap that's my underwear. Oh double crap that's the underwear that looks like it suicidally leapt into a blender. "Sorry," as I reach into her basket. "That's okay," as she smiles in such a way that makes my heavy, drunken breathing sound even more gross in comparison. Laundry day has become a special day. Special because I tend to overhear a multitude of conversations that transpire when no one realizes I'm listening. My favorite laundromat. At the end of the laundry session, the attendant always chases me down holding some article of clothing that I have managed to drop on my way out the door. "Hey, you forgot this!" He always runs. Always waves the sock or underwear or dishtowel like a surrender flag. I don't even know his name. I should know his name, because he keeps me fashionable. White socks, black shoes. Fashionable. Maybe someday I’ll ask him what his name is. For now, it is Miguel. Miguel Fernandez. A few weeks ago I managed to acquire a blue thong that slithered its way into my laundry basket on one of the special laundry days. I should get rid of it. A stranger's blue thong is technically unsanitary. But, I think I must have acquired it in a dryer, which means it was probably already washed, thus rendering it not-so-unsanitary. I tried it on. I guess it isn't really a thong. It's underwear for a girl who is 60 pounds lighter than me. It's a thong when I wear it. Can't say for sure why I tried it on. I thought it would be funny to walk into the kitchen while my roommate was cooking breakfast wearing nothing but the stranger's blue underwear at the same time that some poor girl was asking herself, "I wonder what happened to my blue underwear?" She probably thinks she left it at an extra boyfriend's house. She's biting her nails over it. I still have the underwear. Still wash the underwear as if it is mine. Still think about trying it on again.

On my way out of the laundromat, Miguel Fernandez does his thing, I say "thanks" without asking his name, and load my wrinkly clothes into the truck. White socks, black shoes. Fashionable. As I round the dented bumper to climb into the driver's seat I notice the homeless heroin addict that washes his clothes on the same arbitrary days that I do. He also seems to have discovered a kinship with Miguel Fernandez. "Ya know, there's nothing worse than being a drunken slob. But when a man puts his clothes into a washer and fills it with that sweet, sweet Mexican laundry soap...It's a beautiful thing." Laundry day is a special day.