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Christ in the Laundromat

Oct 08 2016

Three garbage bags full of dirty clothes for me to move from the trunk of my car into the laundromat by means of a laundry cart. I push it toward the entrance. Three of its wheels all want to go different directions, the fourth is  too high to touch the ground at all.  It spins in high speed circles a centimeter above the parking lot.  It looks like a lunatic; completely out of control and irrational.

A woman no longer young enough to have such electric pink hair sits at the desk with her breakfast of three donuts, an egg McMuffin, and a frappechino.  She gives no eye contact.  

It's Almost Halloween, and there's been a pathetic attempt to decorate this drab, high ceilinged warehouse of a building.  It doesn't work.  A handful of random sheet-ghosts, plastic pumpkins and scarecrows make the place seem even more sad and unwelcoming.  Red hand prints on the windows don't look scary or bloody; they look like the product of a kindergarten art class.  The fake cobwebs strung in the corner blend in with the naturally occurring ones of almost the same size.

Three ceiling fans spin pointlessly slow, creating no movement of the stale air whatsoever.  But what they lack in efficiency they make up for in noise. Whoomp, whoomp, whoomp.  This creates an interesting back beat to the ancient boom box, complete with telescoping antennae and tin foil, that is playing a mix of 80s Rock and the crinkle of static. "You and I in a little toy shop, buy a bag of balloons crinkle, crinkle" Whoomp, whoomp, whoomp.

and Christ is in this place.

Toward the back of the cavernous room are two rows of seats covered in vinyl and duct tape.  A man of 30 -he looks 50 - sits reading "Field and Stream", his Dale Earnhart tee shirt not quite covering his ample belly. 

Also in the waiting area a mom and eight year play Yahtzee.  Mom, still in Snoopy pajamas, hair unbrushed, no makeup, daughter just happy with a day off of school.  It's moms turn.  Five dice are shaken in a cup. Clack clack clack. "I've got a beat up glove, a homemade bat and crinkle crinkle crinkle" whoomp, whoomp whoomp. 

And Christ is in this place.

Three young men enter with mesh laundry bags bulging to the seams.  Probably sharing their first apartment; the one above the pizza place, perhaps.  All in shorts,  not quite white undershirts, Red Sox caps. At first I thought I was seeing in triplicate. Then I noticed the blond has a soul patch, the red head's hair is long and thick, the brunette holds a lollipop in his teeth.  Once their laundry is in, they go to the waiting area and pass a soccer ball around.  None are as skilled as they think they are.  The ball hits the Coke machine, a dysfunctional laundry cart, Field and Stream's shin.  He's a  big guy, this could get exciting.  He rises, flashes a brief semi- toothless smile, and moves to the other end of the row, where the Yahtzee game continues.  

Clack, clack clack. "Born in the USA, I was crinkle, crinkle" whoomp, whoomp, whoomp.

And Christ is in this place.

I glance again at Electric Pink. She reads a romance novel and brushes away a tear.  For the first time I realize she may be more than  the sum of her steady diet of sugar and butter and pass me another.

  Eight Years suddenly yells 'Yahtzee' and does a happy dance.  Pajama Mama feigns annoyance, then laughs with her little girl. "let me show you how it's done," Pajama Mama teases as she scoops up the dice.  Clack, clack, clack. "They say the heart of rock and roll is still beating, and from what I see crinkle, crinkle" whoomp, whoomp, whoomp.

And Christ is in this place.

85 year old Granny shuffles in, using yet another demented cart for her laundry and her balance.  The soccer ball gets loose from Soul Patch, hits Granny  in the ankle and causes her to fall. Field and Stream, Eight Years and Pajama Mama look up with all the concern and curiosity  of commuters passing a car accident. Shaggy Red Head turns his back to hide his laughter, but Lollipop is there in a heartbeat. He makes sure she's okay, helps her up, and apologizes repeatedly.  She offers Lollipop a dollar for being such a helpful young man.  Shaggy Red Head laughs all the harder, but Lollipop replies, " Oh no thank you, ma'am. I'm just glad you didn't get hurt."  

Now that the drama is over, Eight Years is getting bored. She scoops up the dice for her turn.  Clack clack clack.  "Oh what a feeling, dancing crinkle, crinkle, crinkle."  Whoomp, whoomp, whoomp.

And Christ is in this place.

My clothes finish drying. I reload my death trap laundry cart and head back to my car. Electric Pink wishes me a good weekend.  Field and Stream is leaving, too.  The soccer guys continue to pass the ball, and Granny begins to doze in one of the vinyl and duct tape seats.  Pajama Mama goes to transfer her load from the wash to the dryer.  Eight Years has a hard time waiting, and begins to shake the dice as loudly and vigorously as she can. Clack, clack, clack. "Billie Jean is not my lover, she's just crinkle crinkle crinkle."  Whoomp, whoomp, whoomp.

And Christ is in this place.

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