Everybody comes to do laundry at the end of the week. Mostly women, often with children running up and down the rows of thrumming machines. They read paperback romances or poke at smartphones while the clothes spin. They come six or seven or eight loads at a time. One or two young men sit awkwardly, sip free coffee from Styrofoam cups, pretend they’re invisible. College-educated, but still too poor to buy a washing machine of their own. The old men sit in the window seats with newspapers in their laps. The elderly gentleman in the off-white beret goes over to the drop-off counter while his cycle runs to flirt the attendant. Her hair is bleach white; she likes the attention. She may even help him fold later.
We are the 99 percent. It is a silent club of sorts, where everyone nods politely and moves aside to let carts of dripping clothes pass from the double loaders to the 50-pound dryers. Everyone knows that the economy is slow. We feel it in every quarter we set aside during the week.
This is a place of cleansing. Of ritual. The same people, the same machines, week in and week out. There is comfort in the pouring of detergent and reverence in the solemn folding of t-shirts.
— 30 —
I must confess, the above was actually flash nonfiction. Don’t hold it against me. Do head over to my Twitter feed (@jonnyeberle) or check out some of my previous flash fiction (Cycles, Big Easy, 7000 Feet and Out of Body Experience). As always, I welcome your comments. And to a certain extent, I crave them.