03 February 2005

A time to heal

At the Laundromat today:

My sojourn in this purgatory of dry heat, humming machines, and mumbling strangers is almost at an end, as I am at the folding table with my warm, soft clothes in front of me. Thanks be to God, Alleluia, Alleluia. I hate doing laundry. But somehow, because I work from home, many if not all of these odious household chores have somehow devolved onto me. But that is a rant of a different color. Whoa there. Steady now. Got a story to tell.

There's an alarmingly large woman pacing around my folding table -- she's about 6'2" and definitely 300 pounds if she's an ounce. She has a cap of tightly curled iron-gray hair, is probably about 50 years old, and is cussing up a storm. Seems she hates doing laundry too. Seems this isn't even her laundry. Doesn't seem right, you know?

I avoid eye contact.

The little Brazilian guy at the other end of the table isn't so lucky, though. She catches his eye and starts raising her voice, like he's the evil mastermind himself who conned her into doing someone else's laundry! He starts to cringe into the corner, and it's clear he doesn't understand much English. I want to catch his eye and tell him the lady is unintelligible even in English, but he's mesmerized by her hulking form, and now she has him cornered. Just when I think he's going to take evasive action by sprinting through her legs, she stops. Abruptly. Mid-harangue.

"Hey!" she murmurs, all niceness now.

(he flinches)

"Hey! Aren't you from Florida? ' Cause I've been to Florida, and I saw you there! You know? You understand? Florida?"

(he raises his hands, palms skyward, and shakes his head, his eyes pleading.)

(She starts to move away, eying him warily now.) "Well, I don't remember your name now, but it'll come to me! Any minute now!!"

And so on.

Shortly thereafter she is joined by a friend, a diminutive woman (about 4'11", maybe 100 pounds) of about the same age and hairstyle, dressed from head to toe in camo. Little woman notices little Brazilian man, elbows large woman, and begins a pestering discussion with her about whether or not large woman thinks he is cute.

Huh? Huh? Doncha? Cuz I do! He's hot! Mmmm-mmmm! Smokin'!

Large woman keeps bashfully brushing her off, hushing her and brusquely urging her to check on the damn clothes in the goddamn dryer, they're her goddamn clothes, goddammit.

Nah, they're heavy, I don't gotta check. They're heavy. More time. He's cute, huh?

Large woman has finally had enough. She turns fully around to face her friend, which happens to be the direction of the rest of the busy laundromat, puts her hands on her hips, and bellows:


Everyone freezes. Most of us decide we've folded enough for one day, and really, didn't we read somewhere that wrinkles are in vogue these days? and I think I left my car running oops gotta go.

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