Musings about the laundromat: Barking, Finding and Noticing edition.
Alarm was set for seven this morning, it needn’t have been.
I was rudely awakened by the persistent bark of the neighbor’s corgi. Butters joined in and I dragged myself to my bedroom window.
Said corgi was staring at the side of my house and would not stop alerting.
I threw some ‘outside’ clothes on and headed out to see what the fracas was about.
A newly dug hole now exists leading to under my home.
This after a trap sat unsuccessfully for a week in the very same spot. (Sans hole.)
I’m assuming my skunk is back.
I’m over caring. As long as a) Skunks stay nocturnal and b) Nothing else moves in under there to startle it.
Had a long day of napping yesterday and (without too much information, wishing I had an epidural) so I was wide awake.
Headed out to the laundromat after a shower.
Laundry Lady: Hey! I missed you last week.
Me: Yeah, I didn’t even have half a basket.
(OK, that works two ways lol.)
I tossed my items in the machine and took my usual spot.
This was only after I noticed a rock on the table.
My first thought, “Oh, now we’re claiming tables with place rocks?”
Second thought, “Wait – there’s another rock … Must investigate.”
I turned it over to discover the purpose.
So! There are now painted rocks hidden in our town and if you find one, you can post a photo of your find to the Facebook page – then re-hide it or keep it or leave it.
What a wonderful way to begin the morning though – with the word, “Joy.”
I was a little upset that once again the WIFI the laundromat boasts was not functioning again.
That was ok though, I came prepared with a book.
It’s taking me entirely too long to read, not because it isn’t good, it’s amazing! It’s taking me too long because I’ve slowed down on my reading time (not good.)
There was a particular sentence I savored.
“The scratching of the bushes no longer sounded cozy. Spindly fingers asked to be let in, dark figures flitted around the house and looked for a gap, a small opening to squeeze through” – Stefan Kiesbye (Knives, Forks, Scissors, Flames.)
I kept reading until it was time to check the wash.
That’s when I noticed my laundromat neighbor.
Not to be unkind, but only honest, the first thing I noticed was his ripeness.
Then, his table. (Which, also had a rock.)
I set the book aside after seating myself again and observed.
I took all of him in.
His table, his stance, his belongings.
I make the assumption he was homeless.
I make it because he had a small bag of food items, a small bag of toiletries and because he removed his boots and stood bare footed to include his socks in the wash.
On his table, 17 cents – a small tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush, an insulated drinking vessel and some clean folded socks.
Yes, I felt some guilt sneaking this photo – but he’d disappeared into the bathroom to groom and I couldn’t let the moment pass.
My first thought now? This man had everything he carried with him, and I was going to watch his stuff.
My second thought? He was laundering his items and if anyone had a problem with that I was going into momma lion mode.
This photo breaks my heart a little – and was not intended.
A serendipitous snap of the camera.
And while all we shared was a brief smile, he shared more with me than he’ll ever know.
I chose to leave that rock at the table by the way – so that perhaps someone else could find ‘Joy’.
So Jenna walked in …
As I said in my earlier post, the laundromat was empty. I had clothes in the dryer by the time another patron came in.
She was stunning.
She seemed lost.
She approached the detergent dispensary by my table and asked, “This doesn’t take change?”
“No”, I told her “You have to use your card.”
And she got the detergent and then took her meager load of laundry to a machine. I didn’t think much of it after that – I was writing my post.
She came back.
Hair in a disheveled pony tail – no make up, still drop dead gorgeous.
“If someone went between your legs and took everything, and they’re not your boyfriend, is that wrong?”
I glanced up, was momentarily confused and shocked at such an out of nowhere comment and then, “Um, yeah, that’s wrong.”
Not even sure what she was talking about. But it sounded wrong. And the childlike, confused look on HER face, immediately engaged me.
This woman obviously needed to chat. This woman was also either on something, or had a mental issue. This woman was so beautiful and SO lost.
“What if someone makes you sell everything? What if someone puts cameras in your car?”
“Um, yeah – that doesn’t sound good either.”
“Yes! OK, that’s wrong.”
(How does she not know this?)
Other comments she made:
“People tell me I’m beautiful, but I’ve been hit so many times, it’s amazing I can even smile anymore.”
“This is a small town right? A lot of gossip?”
“I’m so broke.”
“I think I’m going to go into prostitution, this (as she directed attention to her face and body) is all I have.”
“I spent $5,000 on a broken tooth, that’s wrong, right?”
“I have no one to hold me at night – I need someone to take care of me.”
“I have panic attacks, you know, in that show, Modern Family, there’s this guy who freaks out over birds, that’s me!”
“You know, at our age (after she confirmed she was Sophia Vegara’s age – who is in her latter 30’s, so you know I appreciated being included in ‘that age’ when I wasn’t lol) our menstrual cycles change!”
By this time, I’d already invited her to my table.
“You ARE beautiful.”
“No, don’t do that.”
“You need to work on yourself, stay away from toxic people.”
“You get to decide who you want to be, let the right ones in.”
“Yeah! Yeah!” She said. “That’s what a police officer said to me.
“Do you think people with money want to hurt you? I don’t want a mansion.”
“Nah, I said, you don’t. Too much to clean.”
That got a laugh.
After dozens of disconnected questions and back and forth, I was now folding.
“Come here.” I said.
And held her. Her small arms wrapped around me and we were alone in that laundromat and something strange and purposeful was happening.
“I’m here every Sunday.” I said.
I wanted to give her my card – but there was a part of me that didn’t feel like I had the right advice for her.
Who am I?
Who am I to give advice?
But I think I was in the right place at the right time.
“My name is Jenna … and you are?”
“Amanda …. thank you.”
And at that moment, I knew she would be in my head.
She’s staying at a hotel. She doesn’t have a job. She used to model.
“Jenna, sometimes the rich are more miserable than you can imagine – those that have ‘enough’ usually don’t have ulterior motives, they are giving what they can from their heart. ”
“I have no one to hold me at night. I have no one to take care of me.”
“You have to take care of yourself. Learn to be alone. Learn to love yourSELF. Then you’ll attract the right people.”
Her childlike responses – her manic bouncing just endeared her to me.
Then I remembered, I wouldn’t be at the laundromat next Sunday.
And all I can think about right now is Jenna.
And how I should have given her my card.
She needs a friend. A healthy friend.
I wonder right now, what is she doing?
I almost want to show up next Sunday, no matter what. Get out of SELF and be a friend to someone who needs one.
I will try.
Because I think I need her as much as she needs a friend.
Musings from the couch – not the laundromat
Grackles were clicking on my roof again. I contemplated grabbing my good camera and balancing myself somehow on something and capturing what was sure to be a future National Geographic shot – but I know me. And I know my balance, or lack thereof.
I did brave the great height of my patio wicker chair and lifted my ipad above my head only to succeed in startling the clacking grackle and getting this not National Geographic worthy shot of the roof.
Turns out it was only one grackle – here he is on the telephone pole after he left the photo op.
Clearly he has balance and no fear of heights. Little show off.
If I hear a toe (are they toes?) … if I hear a talon/claw/avian phalange back on the roof, I’ll try again.
So I’m not at the laundromat.
Because I opened my pretty wallet and it is empty.
It is very pretty though. I get compliments all the time. What a shallow wallet it is. All beauty on the outside and no substance on the inside.
That’s ok, we can have a new experience and muse from the laundromat on a Monday night. That should be exciting! Who knows what goes on in there on a Monday night!? We don’t! But we will!
Butters is feeling better – thank goodness. And I’m on a mission to find my ‘happy’. It fell off. Then my blog turned to crap.
But after my early morning wicker chair stunt, I’m feeling capable of anything. I WILL find my happy and hit my stride again.
The laundromat ‘muses’ back
And on a Sunday no less! Talk about timing!
I moderate my comments. I can’t think of anything I wouldn’t approve – but it’s good to have the option.
I’m alerted in my email box when I have a comment – and here’s one I received today:
I haven’t clicked on the source, but I think it’s safe to assume it’s probably not from my laundromat.
There’s almost a sad facet to this – considering someone promoting laundry services probably searched the topic and up came my blog.
Has it come to this? People can find my words – my soul and my heart by putting ‘laundry’ in the search box? LOL!
Well played laundromat, well played. You have amused me.
2014 I’ll be sure to make an effort to add more exciting search terms to my life.