Laundromat masks and Dinosaurs   Leave a comment


Years ago my son Josh had a black t-shirt that had the words, “Leave me alone” on the front of it, and that’s just what I want to say to this man in Earl’s Laundromat

when he says,  “That degreaser is full of chemicals. You need to spray that outside. Think what it’s doing to your lungs.”

“It’s just a stain remover.” I say.

He walks out of the Laundromat to his van outside and comes in with a huge ventilator- gas-mask-like thing on his face. He’s probably right and we should all be wearing one, but I am tired and need to get the sweat stains removed from collars, get my clothes washed and not worry about all the chemicals that I’ve breathed over the years including smoke from our own Unit J recently and the mosquito repellant sprayed by the city down our small town streets every summer.

A few more people come in and spray their clothes with various chemicals. One lady calls her husband a jackass. Not sure if she is teasing or not.  The guy with the mask keeps it on except when he goes out to sit in his truck between loads.

The rug I wash comes completely apart, and I feel happy to throw it away and have one less thing to care for. I gather all the strips of rug I see and push the whole thing into the trashcan.  It seems that all my belongings just weigh me down. Maybe I should pack my clean clothes and my dogs, ask the guy where he purchased his apparatus and head down the road. Then I meet a nice woman named Sam at the Laundromat who says how hot she’s been this summer.

“Me, too. Between the heat outside and the hot flashes, I have two seconds of feeling cool around 4AM. I’ve never sweat so much in my life, and I have always been the one carrying a sweater with me in the summer because restaurants and theaters were too cold.”

I tell Sam my fire story and talk about my two dogs and how guilty I feel because they have no yard.

Sam says, “Santa Fe has tried to spit me out a couple of times but I can’t help but be enticed back. You’ll love it here this fall.”

Sam said, “I’ve never been so poor since moving to Santa Fe. I’ve left twice but am always drawn back here. I moved from New York and thought I wasn’t making enough money there, but it’s worse now. Times have changed.”

Sam goes on to say, “You’ve got a job, a partner, and a place to live. Sounds like you’re doing okay. You just need some beer and tequila.”

“Yeah, maybe you’re right.” I said and meant it.

I drive home, unload the clothes, and Ed and I leave to buy some groceries. The cashier at the grocery store explains to us how a Rottweiler attacked her mother. Remember that movie “Crash.” I seem to remember it being hot and crowded and everything was bad in one way or another. Ed and I  turn down the street where the green and purple Tyrannosaurus Rex sits on top of a building above the sign that says, “Pete’s Pets” and there is a car crashed into a pole. Another car had stopped, so I turned into a driveway to turn my car around, because the accident had blocked the road. As we were coming back onto the street we looked at the guy who had been driving the car and blood was running down his face.

“We need to see if he needs help.”

The driver saw us looking at him and yelled, “What, what are you lookin’ at?

“Do you need some help?” Ed said.

The injured man shook his head and said no and the lady with him said that she had called for help. The street he had been driving down was straight and there was no turn close to the pole, but there was his car smacked into the pole and smashed up good.

Are we on a movie set? The guy yelling at us, the blood covering his face, a purple and green dinosaur surveying the scene, the cashier talking about a Rottweiler attack, the man in the Laundromat with the big mask covering his face, and it’s hotter than hell outside, or maybe it’s just me.

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Posted July 22, 2011 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Uncategorized

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