Thursday, August 07, 2008

Public Laundering Of Your Private Posessions

Another Golden Oldie...

Continuing on the fourth birthday blog theme here at "What I'd Liked To Have Said," this morning I'm re-publishing the second essay I wrote for public consumption which first appeared here on August 10, 2004.

Looking ahead to the next few days, I think that it's more than a little ironic that you'll be seeing re-published writing about the 2004 Summer Olympics and Hurricanes among other topics which end up being quite current even four years after the fact.

Since we'll be traveling on Friday back to St. Simons Island for a five day working vacation (working on the investment property) , I think that this morning's essay is particularly topical for me personally.

Enjoy...what was originally titled:

Washing Your Underwear In Public

Spending ten continuous days living out of suitcases in a hotel room brings me back to a reality that I have spent very little time with since college—the Public Laundry. That’s what the sign on the door says here at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites in Elgin, IL.

Laundromat, Wash-O-Matic, Rinse-and-Wring, call it what you may, each and every visit provides a wealth of entertainment opportunities and interesting insights into human nature, and invariably brings you into contact with persons and situations with which you could otherwise do without.

Of course I have had, through the years, intermittent opportunities to further develop and maintain my college developed skills in the public cleansing of my most personal clothing items. The issue of boxers or briefs become quite evident unless you properly sort, handle, and maintain control of your clothing items before and during your visit to the local “Palace of Clean Clothing” (POCC for short.)

For instance, there was that time when I ran away from home, after separating from my ex-wife, and I was forced to give her the old Kenmore washer and worse, the old Kenmore dryer I had recently, lovingly, totally rebuilt for a cost of a hundred thirty six dollars and fifty-five cents (or something like that.) The personal cost of a weekend of cursing and scraped knuckles was extra. I later learned that she promptly discarded both the washer and dryer in favor of brand new equipment once the divorce was final—she just didn’t want me to have them. She tried the same thing with the 30-year-old Snapper self-propelled mower I had also rebuilt, but you know how it is with a man and his lawnmower. I think that lawn mower cost me about five thousand dollars in the final settlement, but it was worth every damn penny.

Any way, back to the local POCC. I rode the elevator down to the second floor about one o’clock this afternoon, carrying our white clothes and my four-dollar mini-box of detergent, purchased from Rashee, the friendly Indian proprietor of the lobby gift shop. Somehow, I avoided buying a genuine imitation Rolex watch or a cigarette lighter that looks like a pistol (against FAA regulations, you know)--but I was awfully tempted.

Upon arrival in the POCC, I found one of the two washers filled with someone’s unwashed blue jeans and one of the two dryers in mid cycle. Undaunted, my heart full of hope, I launched the load of white clothes with $1.00 worth of quarters, $1.50 worth of detergent, and planned my return 20 minutes later with the colored clothes. Wrong you stupid, white, redneck man.

Upon my return twenty minutes later I found BOTH dryers in operation and the load of blue jeans mysteriously in mid-wash cycle. This was war. What (or whom) was in that second dryer? I again left the POCC briefly, planning to catch the one dryer at the end of its cycle and then load MY own second load into MY washer. Again, wrong, you paleface redneck. Another ten minutes and another three floor round trip on the elevator found me and a four foot tall middle eastern woman glancing furtively at each other as she partially unloaded both dryers and fumbled with clothing of all sizes from 6x to Jolly Green Giant. Was this woman running a laundry service out of the Holiday Inn POCC? Could be…

Another elevator trip up three floors, another ten minutes writing this story, and back to the POCC where I found both washers empty, one dryer available, and the little woman with the red dot on her forehead nowhere to be seen. I sprang into action, untieing the sleeves of my dress shirts from the knot they invariably form in the rinse cycle and gleefully launching another $2.50 worth of quarters and detergent into action. An additional dollar bought me the services of the available dryer. I was turning the corner, in the home stretch now, ladies and gentlemen.

Three floors down, and three floors back, and my heart is still singing the pleasures of clean, although slightly damp and wrinkled clothing. The aforementioned mysterious load of blue jeans was doing nicely in the dryer also.

Got to run, now…I have a dollar date with a lovely, appliance-white-colored clothes dryer. She’s mine, Mine, MINE I said, ALL MINE, get away, dammit… I THINK I NEED A DRINK.

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