My Laundry Lady isn’t here.
(She does have a name – I just try to keep my ‘characters’ somewhat anonymous.)
I asked the owner about her, knowing she’s had some health issues lately.
“Oh she’ll be back to mornings – she’s covering nights until I can hire someone new.”
But strange isn’t it when someone or something that is a part of your routine, your life is suddenly not there.
Much like the divot I keep running my tongue over after having broken my tooth Friday – there is a tangible feeling of absence.
I look forward to our Sunday mornings. I’ve been coming here for over 5 years now. 52 weeks a year. Over 260 mornings with my Laundry Lady.
Crap, if I think about it – I’ve spent more Sunday mornings with her than any one man other than my son. How’s THAT for an example of my ability to have a relationship?
Of course, there’s Glaucoma Man – who, was Chatty Charlie again this morning.
He compared someone in his RV park to a ‘Gadfly’ and proceeded to show me by example what that was.
He switched topics so quickly and so energetically that we (by we, I mean ‘he’) had covered almost a subject for every item I retrieved from my laundry baskets and placed in the washing machine.
(As I was typing that last paragraph, he visited my table to read me something.)
Let’s face it though, I’d miss him too if he weren’t here. Which, he is – again, showing me his new stun gun and telling me about his sniper rifle that he still has.
Good to know. Gooooood to know.
And suddenly I’m very glad I’m kind to him.
Someone is twirling the rainbow umbrella furthest from me.
Sitting there and just spinning it.
When I walked in there was no one at the twirling table.
No one at all.
I had the place to myself again for a while.
I saw this sign and after filling my machines, had to take a photo of it for you.
I saw the figure and thought, “It doesn’t look like it fell. Looks like it’s relaxing on the floor.” Then I thought maybe it DID fall, but then was trying to play it off like “I meant to do that.”
If I fell here, I’d hope to look as nonchalant about it as that little figure.
Twirling lady has left. There’s now just a man at the counter chatting with the laundry lady.
I remember loading the machines and leaving. Taking the opportunity to run errands. That was before I mused for you.
Oh, I got my car back Wednesday. And Friday it was back in the shop after overheating.
Got it back the same day, but I’d be lying if I said I’m driving it with any confidence.
I feel like I’m hemorrhaging money when it comes to my car. The fridge is pretty empty.
We DID have leftovers in there for a small time – from my son and his girlfriend. They had been to Vegas and stopped at red lobster.
The leftovers had since run out of ‘time’ so I put some of the crab in the cats kibble bowl. Then I thought I’d do an alien hand thing – and my honey created this. Cracked me up.
The look on Butter’s face is classic.
Just went and refilled my coffee and was stopped by the laundry lady. We had a little chat.
She made coffee last week for me and I didn’t come. How sweet is she?
“I reset the WIFI and made a pot.”
“Yeah, I was out-of-town.” (Which, is technically true as I was across the river in another state.)
She then told me about another regular that she’s worried about.
She didn’t show up either – she’s undergoing chemo.
“You should get her number next time she comes.” I said. “I bet she’d like having someone check on her.”
“Yeah, I should. I’m the only one she let’s do her laundry.”
I can see why.
I love my laundry lady. ‘My’ laundry lady lol.
But she is mine. Another person I adore in my collection of people I adore. I treasure her. I love that I’m ‘her’ regular too.
Me: Would you be a lamb and reset the WIFI?
Laundry Lady: I just did – I figured I’d get your coffee going first.
This was not my first interaction in the less than 10 minutes I’ve been here.
First we discussed fireworks, or rather, the lack thereof from our most local casino.
I guess we were both outside when night fell, drawn out by the distant ‘POP! POP!’ sounds only to discover it was tourists on the beach and not an official display.
Then I noticed her hair.
Me: Did you dye your hair??
Laundry Lady: Yeah.
A small smile played on her lips and I was SO glad I noticed.
I shuffled away like Igor to my machine, heavy basket dictating my gait.
Glaucoma man found me as I was filling my machines. Actually, he came up on me whilst I was snapping a bra closed before flinging it in.
He was disturbed. (Not about my bra)
Him: He has my machine. (He glared over toward his usual spot.) She opened the back door first today and let him in.
I glanced over towards ‘his’ machine, and sure enough, an unfamiliar face (attached to an unfamiliar body) stood near it.
Now, I’m NOT going to knock him for this discomfort. We all know how my weird little OCD’s send me into a tailspin when I’m stuck under the weird rainbow umbrella instead of the seats I like – or how frustrating it is to find all ‘my’ machines in use.
I get it.
We all have our little routines and rituals.
Him: She must know him.
He said it like it was a conspiracy. I couldn’t help remembering her telling me “sometimes I make him wait.” and stifled a giggle.
But Laundry Lady is not cruel hearted, I decided probably she just happened to open the back door first, and was not making Glaucoma man suffer needlessly.
Me: Well, technically she doesn’t have to open until 8 – she’s sweet to do so.
Him: How is your husband?
Me: Good. (I didn’t correct him)
He went on to talk about how Laundry Lady is grumpy. Which is so not true. Then shared with me that she isn’t well.
This made me sad. I didn’t push for all the details – I figure if someone wants me to know something personal about themselves, they’ll tell me.
He shared anyway.
Him: Yeah, she has that COD.
Me: Me too
Him: You do? But you always have a smile on your face!
I wanted to tell him so does the Laundry Lady. For me anyway. I think she just runs out of patience with some patrons. I mean, I wasn’t going to tell him that part.
The bottom line though, is that if you’re kind, you get kindness back. If you smile, you receive one of those in return too.
And if you are consistent about it – you get a friendly weekly chat and a fresh pot of coffee.
After a long day at work, I really can’t think of much less I’d rather be doing than sitting at the laundromat.
Then I spot 3 children in their school uniforms and think, probably their mom wants to be here even less than I do right now.
Big shout out to you moms by the way. The ones whose day isn’t over until everyone elses needs have been attended to – no matter how tired you are.
So there’s no disco ball … no club kids or anything.
No ‘unce unce’ throb of techno or singles eyeing each other.
Not sure what I expected to find after hours at the laundromat – but it’s pretty quiet, pretty empty.
Turns out my laundry lady wasn’t here yesterday either.
Her: It’s strange seeing you here tonight.
Me: Yeah, it’s strange being here.
Her: I wasn’t here yesterday – but I told my manager I had a regular who would want coffee.
All I could do at that point was give her my ‘Awwww! Thoughtful!’ eyes and shuffle over to the laundry card machine.
As for ‘night’ laundry, it’s still blindingly bright outside and was 96 degrees in the car on the way over here. Sort of takes the whole ‘night’ thing out of the equation doesn’t it?
And apparently I’m a morning writer – because I am at a loss for more words – and after typing for 8 1/2 hours – would rather not anymore.
Until we muse again!
I decided this morning I wanted to surprise my laundry lady with something bright and unexpected. So I stopped off at Safeway before venturing across our little highway to the laundromat.
I continued on and balanced my two baskets, my to-go coffee and the flower.
I approached the counter.
Me: These are for you – thank you for smiling every time I see you.
Her: Oh, thank you! Are you going to need coffee today?
And that was that. And I adore her.
Standing by ‘my’ (preferred) machines was cataract man. “There you are!” he said.
He revealed a secret machine that was closed. “You can use this one!”
The irony in that offer was that for once, all the machines that I covet were available. I politely declined the ‘secret’ machine and stuffed two next to it.
Then cataract man discussed his desire to perhaps ask his doctor for a marijuana prescription, as he still has uncomfortable pressure on his eyes, and in spite of multiple people who have told him to the contrary, he is certain his cataract surgery gave him glaucoma.
Him: I might put it in food
Me: Well, make sure you heat it up – you can’t just sprinkle it on a salad – has to be heated to release the THC
Him: Yeah – I definitely don’t want to smoke it.
I claimed a table and opened up my ipad.
In came some more familiar faces.
“There’s band-aid lady!” My little old man had arrived. (For those of you new to the blog, this stems from a day I watched him sitting trying to continually wipe blood from his arm – I went and got him a band-aid.)
“Hi!” I said.
(It dawns on me – for all the names I’ve given people – have I become ‘band-aid lady’??)
Then a rare sighting. Cataract man was having technical difficulties – here is laundry lady with him, helping him out.
And here is the little old man I wanted to put in my pocket. He’s so flipping small and sweet. I still get the Elmer Fudd vibe when I look at him.
This place has become a second home.
A friendly tradition. A little laundry family.
And as I put my clothes in the dryer, of course, a pair of panties fell to the floor. This morning it was the peach colored pair. And no one cared. Because by now, we’ve seen all of one another’s laundry.