Diary, Photo, Prince Edward Island

At the Laundromat

I arrive at 7:50 a.m. in my shorts and flipflops. The front door is open and I pop my head inside. Can I come in? I ask D, who is counting her till for the morning shift which begins at 8:00. Sure she says. People are already washing. She nods in the direction of an older gentleman by a machine on the far side; he must own the car with the veteran plate out front. I bring my laundry inside in my big purple trug from Veseys. I put two loads in the front loaders and one load in a conventional top load machine. D is complaining that J didn’t roll the change on the night shift. She’s having trouble reconciling her till to get going. When she has a moment, I get change for 3 toonies and start the machines. Two other guys come in, both middle-aged. Are you the fresh air inspector? D calls to the taller one. They talk about the weather. The tv has not been turned on yet. D is fretting about the pile of dimes so I help her roll them. I head home while my machines are washing and as I drive by her house, I see a colleague in her yard painting her deck dark brown.

When I return to the laundromat, the tv is blaring and there are 3 or 4 men there, none young, taking care of laundry. I give D several coin rolling papers, since she was short this morning. She says thanks and seems pleased. The gas drier No. 6 is free, so I load up my sheets and towels and throw in 4 spikey blue balls. I put 8 quarters in the slot and it starts going. I put the other two loads in smaller electric driers and select permanent press. I take out The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis and sit on the bench by the counter, reading. The men joke with D. I feel somewhat depressed by a story called The House Behind, in which the narrator observes and comments on an apparently senseless murder of a woman from the front house, by a man of lower class living in the house behind. I notice drier No. 6 has stopped. I put in another 2 quarters and read 2 more very short stories. When the electric driers are finished, I take out the clothes and fold them loosely. Some are still damp, but I plan to hang them up at home. I take the sheets, towels, underwear, and socks out of driver No. 6. I am pleased by their level of dryness. I shake out the fitted blue sheet before folding it and a black sweatsock, turned inside out, falls out. I wonder to myself about its journey – did it join my laundry in the washer, the drier, did one of the men mistakenly throw it in Drier No. 6 instead of drier No. 7 or 5? I gather my folded laundry together in the purple trug. I put the clean black sweatsock on the front counter for D. She is just outside the front door, talking with a smoking man. They are laughing. The atmosphere, even with the blaring tv, is congenial. Goodbye, I say. Have a good week.

Dryer Ball

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2 thoughts on “At the Laundromat

  1. JB says:

    Oh, laundromats. Unless I go there in the right company, they can be such depressing places, especially if the lighting is poor and the equipment is run down or the floor is messy.

    Thanks for the exactitude of your picture.

  2. za says:

    GOOD ONE BETH.
    Ahh..the memories of the laundromat. I used to go to one near a grave yard. It was a peaceful, relaxing time. There was a long table for folding and after seeing me struggle with folding my fitted sheets a few times the attendant showed me the most perfect way to fold my sheets so the pillow cases and the top sheet all remain together in one perfect square with the fitted sheet. Sometimes I’d stick the clothes in the washer or dryer and while waiting head to the grave yard with my dog and just sit for a bit.

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