The laundromat looked closed. The small black letters on the glass door said the time was well past open. All the lights save the entry lights were off. But the door was ajar the deadbolt left in the open position to keep the door from closing completely. The air inside was thick with the scent of souring laundry.
The change machine worked, spitting out shiny quarters like a happy slot machine. The gigantic front loading washers were not the source of the sour laundry smell. I didn't even have to stuff my clothes in it was such a large washer.
A green SUV backs up to the door to deposit mom and two kids. They begin the task of unloading. I finish with the sole laundry basket in the place and offer it to them before continuing my laundromat washing machine ritual. The management in their benevolence turned the rest of the lighting on. Cheerfulness would not be an appropriate response to the improved visual range. Stainless steel smeared with soap and lime from leakage. Fingerprints abound. The corners gelded with speckles of dog urine. A series of messages tapped out in dogs nose morse code streaks the reach of their naries. The floor has its own layer mostly lint, but mixed with small bits of paper trash. Garbage inches deep resides between the machines.
I watch the suds begin to ensure I had not used too much, the residue from past laundering a can sometimes be enough for these machines. I was also concerned that there would be insufficient sudsing. The shirts I wore while homeless were laundered at the apartment laundry room and stuffed in a drawer. Some months later when the tee shirts were retrieved the stench of filth emanated from them. Obviously the apartment machines were not sufficient.
I unload the giant washer and begin sorting my clothes into several driers. Stuffing is a poor method for drying no matter how appropriate for the front loading washer. So I find a rail at the folding table to put my foot upon and wait. Leaning forward between the hangar tree and a medium sized front loader I encounter a spiders web. Across my face of course.
The mother and two kids speak in Spanish and when another pair of women come in to launder they too begin a lively conversation in Spanish. Soon they were bothered by a woman shilling for her religion. I sort of like the religion and the people in it, except that they find captive audiences, laundromat, bus stop and shill to no end. They leave their magazines. And the women continue with their chores after the interruption.
My clothes begin to complete. I failed to stagger the drying times so I end up with two big loads to fold up at once. The third load was all light fabrics and done long before. The table I was intent on sharing becomes two thirds covered with my tee shirts and pants. I try to fold quickly, stuffing my boxers in the pillowcase cum laundry bag for expediency and out of an attempt to be a gentleman. As the pile shrinks I slide a wall of folded clothes further from the center of the table in an effort to share as the other patrons driers were also completing their cycles. Finally done folding I stuff my impromptu laundry sacks with folded clothes and go on my way.