Early Saturday Morning, Drunk in the Laundromat

20 Nov

from October 15, 2009

This blog is going to be yet another Laundromat story. I tell you that upfront so that all of you who don’t like my Laundromat stories (i.e.: all of you) can log out now and go back to churning your butter or hitching your wagons or whatever else you were doing. Why do I write these things? Just to give my friends something else to not talk to me about if they ever see me again, which is seeming more and more unlikely lately.

I don’t blog much anymore, and that’s a blessing because how much crap can one person write about? On the other hand, as much as I can turn a trip to wash my old t-shirts into a three-page blog, I can also spend an entire day alone with someone and never seem to have a conversation of substance. But I digress.

My lack of blogging coincides almost exactly with my lack of sleep. Used to be just the opposite. I’d be up all night and sure enough, the next morning some ranty, vaguely coherent thing would be up and posted, and I’d have no memory of what drunken sailor actually wrote it. Instead, these past couple of weeks I’ve been unable to even stay in bed. I hit the pillow and ten minutes later I’m awake and watching TV. It is at moments like that, when my sales resistance is low, that I miss Billy Mays. There was nothing better than watching TV at 3am and being yelled at to buy Orange-Glo. (“BILLY MAYS HERE! Get out your CREDIT CARD and DIAL THIS NUMBER!” At this pint Billy would wave his hands in some mystical manner at the screen and chant “you WILL buy Orange-Glo… you WILL buy Orange-Glo… you Will buy Orange-Glo” and across the country thousands of hypnotized insomniacs would chant “yes Master,” get out their credit cards, and buy Orange-Glo. The man was a genius! BTW- “Mystic Manner” would be a good name for an album.)

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, sleep, my lack thereof. Instead of blogging I’ve been getting out of the house and walking around the neighborhood in the late night/early morning. Who else is out at 3am? Not a whole lot of people. What is there to see? Not a whole lot. It is really boring and if I didn’t bring my iPod I’d have gone insane(er). And speaking of my iPod, I put it on shuffle and for a random selection of songs, Alice in Chains seems to get played a heck of a lot considering that I have approximately one song by them on my iPod. (Man in the Box.) Well, my sleep has improved from horrendous to simply bad so that last Saturday morning I slept all the way through from 2am to the almost unprecedented hour of 5:30 in the morning. Refreshed and raring to go I was not, but hey, it was a start.

So I decided to not just take a walk but to be “productive.” That’s my word for when I get very antsy that the whole day has gone by and I’ve done nothing but lay on the sofa and watch infomercials (“You WILL buy Orange-Glo… you WILL buy Orange-Glo”) so I jump up, determined to clean out a closet and instead maybe toss out some old college papers I haven’t looked at since…wait for it…college. “Productive” for me that day was taking the wash to the Laundromat, so I picked up the laundry bag, put in the detergent and softener, softener sheets, and Oxy Clean (a Billy Mays “you WILL buy Oxy Clean” product) and walked the three blocks to the Laundromat. (And why does my spell-check insist on capitalizing “Laundromat”? It doesn’t capitalize “supermarket.”)

I then ran back home because, as you may have noticed, I failed to get dressed in the previous paragraph. So I put on my sweats and my FDNY hat (which I almost never wear anymore as it is a bit ratty) and started out again to do the laundry.

Going to do the wash at 5:30 in the morning has many benefits. They include:
A- Probably won’t run into Jolanta Rohloff
B- That’s good enough for me.

The laundry was empty except for the sleepy guy behind the counter and two middle-age mother types. And me. It was dark and cold and I was tired. But not tired enough to sleep. If I were at home I’d be not sleeping, so I was better off here not sleeping where I could watch the sun come up over the dryers. A very touching sight. If you have never seen the first golden rays of dawn breaking over a Tide-stained dryer you are really missing something. On the other hand, I missed it too as the day was overcast and I never did see the sun. But it did get a bit less grey.

With my headphones on (Man in the Box again!) I put my dirty clothes in the washer, added soap, softener, and Oxy Clean (“you WILL buy-“ oh enough of that) and then… what? So here I am, 5:30 or so in the morning, grey and crappy, with my dirty socks and t-shirts in the wash, CNN on the TV (I hate CNN. Did you catch Wolf Blitzer on Celebrity Jeopardy a few weeks back? He got a negative score. They dumb down the questions so much for the celebs that even Adam Sandler can answer a few. And I am going to trust Wolf Blitzer to tell me about the Middle East? No thanks.) and me with nothing to do for the next half-hour.

Maybe doing the laundry before dawn on a Saturday wasn’t such a good idea.

My iPod shuffled on, from Shirley Bassey to The Yardbirds to Zeppelin to Chuck Berry to Rob Zombie to Rhianna and on and on and on because I kept hitting the skip button to find a song I hadn’t heard a thousand times.

The store has a lot of seats but only a pair of tables and, being bored out of my mind, I sat at a table and just leaned forward and shut my eyes because, NOW I was ready to sleep. Great timing my sleep cycle has. Anyway, I didn’t really sleep because every time I might have come close, CNN blasted a BREAKING NEWS ALERT! loud enough to wake the dead, so loud that I shook back to consciousness after nearly, but not quite, catching a catnap. (What was the BREAKING NEWS ALERT! about? I dunno. I just turned up my iPod louder. I hope it wasn’t about a broken gas main in my apartment building. That would have sucked.)

I was awake for good now and I realized that while I was zoning out, one of the women had sat down next to me. Not near me, three seats away, or across from me, or at the other table, but right next to me. Literally. We were so close our thighs were touching.

I looked at her.
She looked at me.
I shifted in my seat.
She sipped her coffee.
I walked away.

That was the end of the most promising love affair I have had in awhile.

Mercifully, the washer was finished and I put my clothes in the dryer. Progress, sure, but now instead of having a half-hour to kill, I now had forty more minutes to kill. Great.

Sitting down at the table was out of the question. Besides, I was now over-tired. Me being tired and me being over-tired are light-years apart. Me being tired is yawning and wanting to sleep. Me being over-tired is like me being drunk. No, not me getting all maudlin and moaning about how crappy my life is, but me bopping along to the songs to my iPod and waggling my head like Paul in the Cavern Club while muttering along under my breath and generally looking like a drunk in the Laundromat.

Let me just point out, however, that there was an actual drunk in the Laundromat for a few minutes. He staggered in the front door and went right out the side door where he stood against the wall and drank coffee. It was disgusting because he kept the cup on the sidewalk but was incapable of puting it down without spilling, so every time he picked it up half of it was sloshed away. The disgusting part? He licked the sides of the cup, the cup he just picked up off the weedy sidewalk.

There I was, badly but quietly singing along to old blues with Howlin’ Wolf and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins while my clothes spun ‘round and ‘round and ‘round and ‘round and ‘round and ‘round and so on and so forth for forty minutes. It was just as much fun as it sounds, actually less.

Well, by 7:00 I was done. My clothes were done too. I folded them, stuck everything back in the laundry bag, and walked home.

What did I do when I got home? Went right to sleep. Of course.

4 Responses to “Early Saturday Morning, Drunk in the Laundromat”

  1. downcastmysoul December 18, 2009 at 4:05 pm #

    I used to spend every Sunday night at the “Biggest Laundromat in the World” and there were lots of drunks, panhandlers, weird people, etc…It was like a sideshow. Surviving each week there was an adventure.


    • bmj2k December 18, 2009 at 4:39 pm #

      Thing is, I go on a different day every week because of my schedule, but I still manage to see the same cast of characters every time. Do they ever leave????


  2. downcastmysoul December 19, 2009 at 12:20 am #

    Some of the people I used to see were panhandlers, so, they would be there any day, but, as far as people just doing laundry, that’s odd. Where I went there were huge families doing huge amounts of laundry and taking up machine after machine and being loud and obnoxious. The kids would be running all over the laundromat. Also, the homeless would use the laundromat. People would walk up to you and try to sell stuff as well. The bus stop was outside so those people would walk in and out too. It was like a 3 ring circus.


    • bmj2k December 19, 2009 at 1:11 am #

      And they say the laundry is good place to meet people.


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