Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Those Little Squishy Balls They Give You To Relieve Stress Really Do Nothing For Me.

There are better laundromats in this city. Of that I can promise you.

But I consistently chose the one located in the slightly sketch part of town inhabited by the slightly to very sketch individuals who will unerringly drift into my very large personal space bubble.

And still I go. It's like a badge of honor when people find out that THAT is the place where I wash my clothes, not having a washing/drying facility of my own in either my apartment or building. So I carry my overflowing baskets one by one into my car, only to unload them 2 miles down the road, one by one, and carry them into the Fun Wash* on Markham.

*A very deceptive name, Fun Wash. It not Fun to wash clothes and calling it Fun only succeeds in pissing me off every time I pull into the parking lot and see the generic plastic sign on the roof. FUN WASH it most certainly is not.

The last time I was there, after loading six washers full of my heinously dirty clothes, I was approached by a rather large gentleman who was obviously of the egocentric age or mistaken ego that I would be interested in a) his ginormous TOMMY HILFIGER sweater, emblazoned across his chest in such a bright red it could cure the color blind, b) his fake Polo cologne and c) his inability to read simple sentences, a feat I will explain momentarily.

This young man had the audacity to sidle up and INTO my personal bubble, ACTUALLY TOUCHING ME WITH HIS OVERFLOWING BELLY AS HE LEANED OVER MY SHOULDER, while I was obviously, AND VERY DELIBERATELY I MIGHT ADD, engrossed in my book. You must ALWAYS bring a book to the laundromat, because if your eyes should stray from one of the four TV's placed throughout the room and, God Forbid, make eye contact with a Random, your semi-pleasant washing experience will be INTERRUPTED AT EACH AND EVERY OPPORTUNITY BY SOMEONE MORE FRIGHTENING THAN YOU EVER HOPED TO MEET AND WHO IS PROBABLY MISSING TEETH.

But this Young Man, with his grotesque body part touching my back, had not even required the normal Approach Me Signs. HE HAD APPROACHED ME TOTALLY UNANNOUNCED AND WITHOUT THE PREREQUISITE AND ACCIDENTAL EYE CONTACT. He was breaking from a long standing tradition, this one.

HOW. DARE. HE.

He then proceeded to take his sausage like finger and poke at my book.

"What's that."
"That is my book, which I am reading."

Still no eye contact, thankfully, as he was standing behind my chair. And though his revolting body part was jiggling against my back with every heaving breath I REFUSED TO MOVE. You must NEVER show fear to the native laundromatans. At the first sign of weakness they will converge upon you and rip you limb from limb, feasting upon your innards like normal folk feast upon steak and potatoes.

"De Gal-deen Come-pass." Still poking his fat finger against the top of my book, sounding out the words like a first grader.

"It's called 'The Golden Compass.'" I'm taking a very big risk here. He could become offended by my authoritative stance on the title.

"Whas eet bout." More finger poking. Followed by grasping the edges of the book so he can see the cover.

"Hey, das a white bear."

"It's a polar bear. The book is set in the arctic."

"Yehyeah."

It's taking every ounce of strength I have to not recoil in disgust as he actually PUTS HIS HAND ON TOP OF MY HEAD TO FEEL MY HAIR.

"You gots some pritty hair-ra white gurl."

"You need to remove your paw from my head."

"Diszat bodder yew?"

This is a delicate question. If I say yes he will more than likely continue to paw my head. If I say no, it gives him free reign to paw my head. NO WIN. So I lie.

"I have to finish this book for school tomorrow."

I hope that distracting him from the head pawing and reverting his attention to the book will do the trick.

"Aww, gurrl." His voice sounds like it's been trapped in liquid fat for the last ten years. Hearing it's breathy grossness makes my stomach revolt against the Taco Bell I had for lunch.

With one last poke at my book at heaving belly caress he turns around to go iron his pants at the steam iron press across the room. I breathe a sigh of relief as I avert YET ANOTHER Random attack.

SKIP TO LAST NIGHT.

Again, I unloaded my six loads of laundry out of my car and into the Fun Wash. The Laundromatans were just beginning to congregate as I plunked my first six quarters into the washing machine. I settled down to read the cheesy book purchased at Kroger on my lunch break. I managed to avoid eye contact through the wash cycle and even through the first fifteen minutes of the tumbling dryer.

I felt a cold burst of air against my ankles, the fiftieth or so burst of cold air I'd felt against my ankles in 20 minutes as each and every Laundromatan felt the need to go in and out and in and out and IN AND OUT of the door, letting the frigid air IN and the warm air OUT. Before I could stop myself I glanced up as the last burst of air rushed in, MAKING DIRECT EYE CONTACT WITH A LAUNDROMATAN.

Five minutes later:

"Hey gurrl, smell dis."
"Um. No thank you. I'm allergic."
"Naw gurrl, ees aaaal nat-ur-el. I made eet mysef."
Slight sigh
"Okay, what is it?"
"It's incense I made at de hiz-ouse."
I lean over and take a delicate sniff. It smells like the most rancid and putrid combination of New Car Smell and Fake Cherry Scent I have ever smelled. So strong that the cilia lining my nose and throat WERE SINGED BY THE HEINOUSNESS.
"Uh, smells like fruit."
"Yehyeah. You can buy seben fer a dollah."
"Er, no thanks. I have plenty of incense."
A direct lie, of course. Incense makes my head hurt. I'M PAUSING I'M PAUSING. HE'S SENSING MY WEAKNESS. HOLY CATPOOP.
"Come on gurrl, you knows you wants dis. Four qwuarters and you gots all dis." Makes sweeping motion to the seven disgustingly scented sticks-o-grossness.
STILL PAUSING STILL PAUSING. SPEAK YOU FREAK OF NATURE. WHY DON'T YOU SPEAK.
Seriously, it was like someone clamped a vise on my vocal chords as some sort of cruel joke. A cruel, cruel joke.
"I know you gots fwar qwuarters. Come on gurrl, buy my incense."

I finally give in, dig through my purse and hand him four quarters, rationalizing that he probably needs four quarters more than I need four quarters, so he is most definitely entitled to the four freaking quarters.

He fake limps over to his buddies and proceeds to gather up more skantified incense to hok to the next unsuspecting victim. I gather up my seven joy sticks and place them in purse while I fold my clothes, neatly, and place them in the baskets.

On my way out of the parking lot I throw the scented sticks out of the window.

This morning, my purse still smells like New Car and Cherry.

Super.

12 comments:

Chris said...

Gotta love laundromats. I enjoyed the your post, I felt like I was there and could hear the lack of education in their voices..

Rolligun said...

Nice!

You deffinately know how to hold your own in the wild, and you do so with such a pleasent touch.

oakland heidi said...

oh the laundromat. Its like they all think you are their possible long lost soulmate. I felt this entry like you wouldn't beleive, it made me laugh, but it also hurt. I can't WAIT to have my own washer and dryer....

I only have ghetto laundromats in my town. We have two machines in the basement of my building, but for some reason they leave grey marks and other beautifications all over my sheets and anything brand new I happen to wash.

Someday, someday.... you and I both will look upon the laundromat as a distant funny, "when I was young..." memory.

Coyote Mike said...

I have found that giving the evil death glare often keeps the freaks away. Of course being a 6'3" male with a beard doesn't hurt. Let your beard grow, girl, and nobody'll mess with you :P

Jacques Roux said...

one word: Taser.

Because that's what these fucking idiots deserve.

Drunken Chud said...

oh god... the horror, the memories. i am so happy to finally be back with civilization and have a washer/dryer. thank god for not having to go to the "suds yer duds" or the "washin' house" which always sounded like a bath house to me. and judging by most of the clientele they thought so too. the best though, is trying to explain to a man with a gun at "suds yer duds" his failure to grasp the econimic situation of his attempted marks. his in a laundromat trying to rob people. i told him if he caught me before i had my loads in the dryer he might have made about 5 bucks off me, but since this wasn't the case, he was shit out of luck. he argued, and argued, and i tried to point out to him using logic and what little tact i have that he was an idiot to think that people would be here if that had any money worth stealing. i then pointed out, he'd be better coming in late at night and breaking into the machines. he ended up leaving in a huff, and i had a laugh and good story to tell.

Laurie (aka buggy) said...

OMGGGGGGGGGGGG YOU ARE SO FUNNY!!

I suppose I should no longer complain about my building's laundromat. It does beat going to the neighborhood ones. You be careful out there. Get you some mace girl. Those shady characters freak me out.

Jenni said...

Yikes. Laundromats sound scary. Don't let any of those boogeymen get you, dear Birdie!!
Mace and kung foo lessons are what you need!

Carl from L.A. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Carl from L.A. said...

I hate being called anti-social, but there are just too many crazy strange people out there. I used to get around by bus when I was in college and lemme tell ya, it was fun ride.

Murrye said...

i know this exact place! it's right next to the liquor story i usually go to (classy - now i sound just like one of those shady characters you wrote about!). everytime my boyfriend and i go there, someone harrasses us for money or a cigarette. there are even signs that say 'no panhandling or begging' so obviously it's a really problem, but that doesn't seem to deter them. haven't had anyone try to force nasty incense on me yet, but i wouldn't be surprised. hey, at least we keep it real by having the nerve to venture over to that delightful little 'strip mall' that is the markham funwash and liquor store!

rob said...

heh...

I wonder if it hurts to be retarded.