Sunday, October 19, 2008

Laundromat Detour by Leona Leone Beasley

To err is human, to forgive is stupid, but silence is actually golden

Oh to find a Laundromat that opens at 6:00AM, what a dream, what a delight. I arrived at 7:09 sharp. A middle aged white guy had already taken stake on the premises. He’s balding and wears big-framed glasses. He’s dressed in a colorless athletic wear. Perfect for washing clothes. He expected to have the place to himself, I could tell. The great thing about him was that he didn’t want to engage me. He looked and then turned quickly so we wouldn’t even have to speak. Great! Now I knew I’d found the perfect Laundromat.

When I was growing up in Atlanta we called Laundromats washhouses which sounds, and is, country. Don’t be offended; I can say that ‘cause I’m talking about myself. But in many ways the phrase washhouse is a more accurate term. It is after all a one-room shack where you can wash clothes. Without conversation I can read more of Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies. Many of her characters live quiet & disparate lives much like those of us who come to the Laundromat.

The large eyeglasses wearing white guy has left the building. He didn’t even say goodbye. Surprise! A friendlier white guy replaced him. He spoke and acknowledged me with just the appropriate eye contact, tone of voice, and limited word-smithing: My kinda of guy.

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