We live in a somwhat affluent neighborhood (million dollar homes and BMWs abound). Affluent folk don't need to go to the laundromat (they have these). Any bulky items that cannot be accomodated by their state-of-the-art washers and dryers are simply sent out to the cleaners. Unable to justify such an expense, as I contemplate my soon-to-be penniless state, I tossed my extremely large, overstuffed comforter in my backseat and headed to the laundromat situated but a mile from our apartment, in a mostly hispanic/latino neighborhood.
When I first walked in, I thought I was going to have to turn around and head home; Sunday afternoon seems to be a popular laundry time. I should have remembered that procrastination breaks all language and culture barriers. However, after a quick look around I found one available machine that would be large enough to accommodate my monstrous bedding.
Keeping one eye on the available washer, I hustled to the change machine to get ten dollars in quarters. With my pockets full of change, I grabbed my huge, green corduroy comforter and stuffed it into the single vacant triple loader. There was some trouble closing the door, but, eventually, it cooperated. I dropped in my four dollars worth of change and the laundry soap that I wisely brought from my own home stash so as to avoid dropping two extra dollars on one "serving" of soap, and started 'er up.
As soon as the washer started filling I found the nearest available chair and began reading C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce. After two or three minutes, I looked up only to see that the door was slightly ajar and nothing was happening. Getting just a little annoyed, I went to the machine and leaned my weight onto the pesky door; the machine began to fill again. Optimistically, I thought that once the washer began agitating, the door would suction itself closed in some miraculous way. A few moments into the wash cycle, I tested my theory. There was no suction. I managed to spill at least a gallon of hot, soapy water all over me and the dangerous-when-wet tiled floor.
My situation prevented me from notifying the attendant that there was a problem and my fellow launderers didn't seem at all interested in my plight. When I tried to communicate with them, they simply ignored the sounds coming out of my mouth. So, I continued my lean against the machine door as I read more about Lewis' ideas of heaven and hell.
As the attendant wandered about the building she noticed the flood I had unintentionally created and brought a mop to clean it up. Unfortunately, the predicament that caused the flood also prevented me from moving in any way to assist her efforts. She definitely didn't speak English, so I became the innocent victim of her hateful stares as she tried to mop around my wet, flip-flop clad feet.
My 24 minutes spent sweatily wedged against the door of a triple loader trying to prevent a flood of epic proportions probably looked more like the efforts of a frightened, inconsiderate white girl (who leaves her messes to be cleaned up by the hired help) desperately trying to protect her cheapish Martha Stewart comforter from the brown-skinned people. I heart language barriers!
(Fortunately, there were more dryers than washers and I picked one that worked properly.)