I have written many a time about my laundromat adventures. It is a bi-weekly chore that I sometimes put off because it is my least favorite thing to do. This past Sunday I could not wait another week because it had been a month since I last did this dreaded task. I no longer had an excuse as we were truly out of clothes. So once again I woke up early to visit this humblest of places to lose myself in thought as I watch the clothes go round and round in the washers and dryers.
Since I frequently wake up early, the best time to wash my clothes at the laundromat is on Sunday morning when it is less crowded. I have been getting up before dawn every other Sunday and visiting this local business for years. If I get there right at opening hour, I have my pick of washers, and most often dryers. While I do sometimes wait an extra week or two (or three!), I always do my laundry early Sunday morning.
I am not the only one there. They are others, the “regulars” as I lovingly refer to them, and we all have come to know each other. A mix of people. Sometimes families. Other times single or family men, perhaps local Hispanic farm workers, who given their six day a week work schedule, only have Sunday mornings to do their wash for themselves and their families. This particular morning, another regular, a mom and dad this time, arrives after I’ve been there for about an hour. We all smile and say hello to each other. We’ve all become a family.
I used to be able to do two weeks’ worth of laundry in about a couple of hours. However, over the years, my back has become less nimble. Given my penchant for “putting it off”, laundry time has grown to about three plus hours, and six or more heavy laundry baskets. Most visits, I am lugging these heavy monstrosities in and out of the car, loading and unloading 12 or more washers and dryers. Certain days you can visibly see the pain on my face as I carry these baskets back and forth. Sometimes I pray for help but it is never heard.
This past Sunday, my back was feeling particularly sore, and I was moving very slowly. The family I mentioned early…well they must have saw me grimace in pain as I carried the first very heavy basket, and loaded into the back to my car. When I turned around, the dad was there with another basket. He had a smile on his face and asked me where he wanted me to put it. I told him and then he said, “Stay here, I’ll be right back.” The next thing I knew the whole family was carrying out the rest of my laundry. I didn’t know what to say except, “Thank you” with a heartfelt smile on my face, and a tear in my eye.
Given everything that has been happening in the world lately, I was beginning to wonder what is wrong with people. Yet in the humblest of places, I have found my faith in humanity restored. Here at this little establishment, we come together from all walks of life to commune and bond with each other over clean clothes. We are one big family…and we all help each other.
Remember…while we are all different, we all have commonalities in which we bond. Our heritages are not the same, and yet we are all family. Not everyone is bad. I know this to be true because I found some really good people…at the laundromat.