11:23 – Finally ran out of clean cloths so it was time to go to the Laundromat. Filling my old camp laundry bag, tie it down with bungees on my bike rack and then it was off to my mystery destination.
The one I found still open in the neighborhood seemed clean enough and not too buggy so this is where I was headed. I came by yesterday to find out it cost $2.00 to wash and a couple of quarters to dry. There were two cute girls here yesterday as I made my inspection of each machine. One girl was lost on a phone conversation but the other smiled probably thinking out this old guy is checking out for loose change.
Since I seem to only handle one project a day, I hooked my bike to a “no parking” sign, unpacked my load, read the instructions, filled the tank with old stinky underwear and t-shirts and my bullet hole hoodie and jeans I’ve been wearing for months. After filling it with quarters the washer tells me it will take 27 minutes.
27 minutes – Doesn’t seem too long to wait so I sit down and start writing this while listening to the Chinese conversation at the other end of the building.
The Laundromat is much like I remember from college. There are soap dispensers, huge venting pipes for the dryers and a change machine. No winos or roaches as I can see. A big fan dons the wall, as I’m sure it is hot in here during the summer, but today it is just right. A row of fourteen washers, and twelve dryers and four industrial washers all seem clean and functional. The awning window is clean as are the seats and the floors. That is not what I remembered from college.
Woooo! I just remembered, where is the box of dryer sheets I brought? I dumped them in the laundry bag on top of the stinkies but forgot when I dumped all that stuff in and turned the machine on.
9 minutes left - So I guess I will have very fluffy underwear as the box rolls around with everything else. Lesson learned.
5 minutes left – Another guy walks in, picks up his laundry and throws it in a dryer, puts in 5 quarters and leaves. Another guys come in and dumps a load of laundry then stares out the window at the old school playground. The old school has now been transformed into a loft apartment building and I wonder if they left the blackboards.
2 minutes left – I keep looking for the cute girls but all if quiet except for all the oriental people coming and going. A small woman pulls a comforter from a washer and dumps it into a dryer then walks out the door.
20 minutes left – I dump my wet materials into a dryer, dump some quarters in, choose the heat level and shut the door to watch them tumble. The Chinese guy is now whistling and the other guy at the window is playing with his cell phone.
Four dryers are going now. There is a certain sound to this place. These huge machines are buzzing around with industrial power, but not banging, just the rattle of buttons and zippers hitting the walls.
Time for a break, so I get up and check my bike since this is a transient neighborhood and check out the small grocery store next door. The oriental woman who brought in the comforter is the same woman who is behind the counter. There is a wall of alcohol. Not only a wall of alcohol but another row of alcohol. I guess a neighborhood of apartments dwellers require massive amounts of alcohol. I did not check the prices but from what I remember they were high. The rest of the thin store was a few cans of noodles, cleaning stuff and junk food. Even so I see the security camera I think how easy it would be to knock over this place, but with the lack of traffic the till must be bare.
Back at the dryer, I pack up my still damp clothing into the laundry bag and throw away the rest of the wet dryer sheets. Loading the bike in a familiar yet distant neighborhood I bid adieu until next time. Perhaps I will have a washer/dryer before the next load is due but I was pleased with the comfort of this place.