friday night at the laundromat

A Friday Night at the Laundromat

A rather good looking black man in his 50s sitting on a chair not minding his own business: “Have you ever worked on a ranch?”

I turn around to see who he’s talking to, obviously it’s me. I shrug with my nervous snicker style laugh and answer No?

I stuff my darks in a first machine, then the colored stuff in another. I launch both washers, and look around the laundromat. I consider a place to sit, my options are limited. I can sit next to what appears to be a crazy cat lady hogging up a bench made for 5 , or sit next to the rather good looking black man in his 50s who’s sitting next to the only available chair. I opt for handsome over crazy. “So why’d you ask me if I’d worked on a ranch?”

I’m wearing short shorts, a black t-shirt that says ‘Mind Your Muse’ and tan nubuck knee-high boots. But I’m intrigued, and hope this will be the beginning of a very interesting conversation with a total stranger in a seedy part of town. Who ever said life had to be boring, especially on a Friday night at the laundromat.

“Because you walk like a cowgirl,” he says with a hint of alcohol on his breath.  I laughed my nervous laughter. Again.

“You’re not from around here, are you?” he asks shaking my hand and holding it way beyond the protocol for politeness.

“No, I’m from Montreal,” I answer gently pulling my hand away wondering how I could discreetly wipe it on my shorts without him noticing it.

And then, as I would have guessed it, he’d confessed everything. He’s been to Canada many times back in his party days. His golden tooth shines as he laughs about Vancouver… From the smell of him, his party days are far from over.

Later as I fold my clothes, and he chooses a spot within my inner circle at the table next to me to fold his own, it’s hard to distance myself from my stand on how I’d never worked on a ranch, or that I was indeed not a cowgirl. “What are all those bandannas for?” he asks.

I don’t know about you, but folding laundry is actually a very private thing. My anal tendencies of making sure my freshly washed and dried clothes are wrinkle-free far surpass my need for privacy. Air my clean laundry in public I must.

“It’s a roller derby thing,” and now I’ve entered the lion’s den. I went from feeding his weird cowgirl fantasies to being a roller derby chick. Uh oh. He stares as I fold my Coyote Ugly t-shirt, a mountain of thigh-high socks, and a series of boy-short underwear. Feeling utterly self-conscious I decide underwear can be wrinkled, making an on-the-spot executive decision I bunch up all that is left of my undies and toss ’em in my mesh laundry bag.

I enter my little bubble and focus on my task as I silently question myself do I really walk like a cowgirl? I grab my bag and strap it across my shoulder and try to take note of my walk. The rather good looking black man in his 50s makes his way out, and heads straight for the bus stop. My charitable self wants to offer him a ride home.

Because my inner guardian angel self is screaming obscenities at me with a much louder voice than the charitable one, I make my way to my own ride, and drive my red Chevy-I’m-not-a-cowgirl-pickup-truck back home.

Again, who ever said life had to be boring, especially on a Friday night at the laundromat…

…………………………………………………………….
S30PBadge (1)This is a Studio 30 Plus writing prompt: “he’d confessed everything.” I’ve not written a prompted story in a long time. I’m glad to be back in the saddle, and I swear to god I’m not a cowgirl… Oh and this entire story is totally a true-true story. My life is never boring because I tend to attract the weirdness to it. It’s too much fun to deny, so I indulge whenever I can.

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48 thoughts on “A Friday Night at the Laundromat”

  1. oh so good, such real, raw honest stuff.
    I like these kind of awkward meetings because they end of telling me so much about myself. Whether you walk like a cowgirl or not isn’t the point, it’s that you made an impression on him, he saw something in you that was real and honest and even in its complete wrongness it was right. You’re tough, you’re no-nonsense, you’re good and earthy and maybe that’s how he translates those traits.

    Either way, he’s so lucky he met you. (thanks for sharing the story with us, y’all . 😉 )

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  2. This is utterly brilliant. I love how you capture the moment and not only share it but allow us to be there with you.

    And for what it’s worth, I don’t know about there, but here, walking like a cowgirl is a good thing. They are strong, beautiful, independent, and sassy in a way all women want to be and all men want to be with. Some of my best friends on the planet are cowgirls.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My intent was to write it all out in present tense – to really make the reader feel like he’s right there with me. After publishing it I realized I kept switching back and forth between present and past… thank god for editing powers! And yes, apparently I have some kind of badass attitude in my walk, it makes some people hate me because of it “who does she think she it” and bleu. I am me… take it or leave it, right?

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    1. The socks are also a roller derby thing. Honestly, it’s the weirdest thing to come back from practice looking at myself as if I was just finishing a shift as a dancer but instead saying “yeah, I’m an athlete, and this is sportswear.” 🙂

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      1. Hey guess what??? In a few weeks I’m attending the Comicon of roller derby: RollerCon. AND at this worldly event there will be teams from Montreal! Mais c’est impossible! And I will get to meet derby chicks from back home. Aint that a total hoot! Oh my freakin’ lord!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Now you got me wondering how a cowgirls walks! I wonder if I have a specific walk. Probably not, haha.

    This was a fun read, Marie! And yes, folding laundry is a private matter!

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    1. Actually my walk is totally based on the fact that my hips hurt so much, but I keep my back straight and shoulders up so evidently I have a very determined walk… :/

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  4. Here by way of the ever-creative Tahira Lubrano 🙂

    As I inch closer to 40, but 50 is still yet a while away, I hope that my inner “dirty pervy” never surfaces in public. I say “hey behbee” from the safe quiet solitude of my car to the random chick meandering down the street but I’d be horrified if I was caught on it.

    Roller derby is cool. My daughter has a May birthday and sometimes we celebrated it in a local park where the local roller derby practices in the rink. It was so wonderful one year when they caught us singing “Happy Birthday” to her and wished her the same in turn. Sometimes I dream that she’ll join the team someday and show her tough girl love to our rut-stuck community…

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    1. A quiet hey behbee inside your head is totally normal, I do it all the time followed by inner chewing sounds when I see somebody utterly delicious looking. Not that I eat people for a living but… Our league has a jr program for 7-17 year old girls. Maybe this league in question has the same service nearby? I totally recommend roller derby to girls, it’s such a unique way to build self-esteem, make friends and be involved with the community! (You may hate me when she comes home with loads of tattoos, it’s a trade-off.)

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      1. Oh, it’s not inside my head, but, eh. Cimmorene and I used to ogle the same people walking down the street early in our marriage. More recently, we decided to put virtual blinders on at the pool.

        Atomic City Roller Girls (yes, feel free to look them up) doesn’t have a junior program that I’m aware of. They are tattooed, yeah, so I’m aware of the potential trade-offs, but Princess is a smart girl. She chooses not to swear despite my incredibly bad example. I trust her to keep kosher but if she doesn’t, I don’t intend to shit a brick. Cimmy might poop a few bits of gravel, but, again, eh. We’ll see.

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  5. I could feel your awkward laughter in mine as I read… I feel like we have a very similar approach to encounters like these. It always seems like there’s something that links you and the stranger who you allow yourself to get in a conversation about — in this case, his Canada memories. Great post!

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    1. I tend to laugh when I’m nervous. And I have a half-smile-smirk thing going on beyond my control. It’s gotten me in lotsa trouble as people just assumed I was a smart ass. Which I’m way to submissive as a person to ever give lip to people… Chronic people pleaser I am. That and I’m deathly afraid of weirdos, I’ve watched too many murder movies where the nice lady doesn’t get killed by the psycho, but the bitch (who shows her tits) is the first one to die.

      Oh and yeah, weirdos. Never a dull moment with them!

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  6. I’m impressed with you writing and your ability to do laundry. I’ve been barred from the laundry room. Something about a nasty incident involving a red sweater in a load of whites.

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    1. My ex barred me from laundry too. And in return he wasn’t allowed in the garage. The guy really did not know how to use/put away tools, plus rolling an extension cord around the arm? Kill me!

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  7. I’ll be in NYC for an extended period of time next month. Long enough that I can’t pack enough clothes to avoid using a laundromat. I am now simultaneously dreading and looking forward to the experience.

    Can I borrow the knee high boots?

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    1. You can borrow then only if you promise to pair them up with a pair of Daisy Dukes, because technically speaking in the eyes of a NYC’dweller you’re a cowboy if you come from Minnesota.

      p.s. I just finished watching the last episode of Fargo, and wow. The only reason I mention this is because it all takes place in MN.

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  8. Once upon a time I was doing laundry about 7pm. I smiled at some guy. Later when was loading laundry into the back seat, he came back, pushed me into the car, and tried to rape me. I learned later, my smile is probably why he tried to rape me. Thank heavens my screams attracted other people and he ran away.

    Many years earlier a guy offered to help me fold my laundry. When I got home all of my underwear was missing.

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  9. I absolutely loved this, and could visualize the whole scene unfolding. My favorite line, “pulling my hand away wondering how I could discreetly wipe it on my shorts without him noticing it..”

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    1. You know when I wrote this entire story my intent was to write in present tense. After publishing and re-reading I realized I kept hopping back and forth between past and present. This one line was in past tense and jumped out. It forced me to revise and re-think everything and finally opted for going present tense all the way. I’m glad I did… And thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I love this snapshot of a moment – and you’re right – folding clothing in public is a very intimate thing.

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