I do my laundry at the laundry mat. I used to do it my mother’s but the free laundry wasn’t worth the cost of the therapy I would need if I kept doing my laundry there so I go to the laundry mat. I don’t mind going to the laundry mat because it’s a place where I can see another slice of life. I usually meet someone unusual while doing my laundry which is why I only do laundry during day light hours. Yesterday was no exception.
I arrived at Scrubby Bubbles late yesterday afternoon with laundry basket in hand. The place was empty and hotter that January in the Nairobi dessert. I loaded up the double load washer, the best laundry value, added my detergent and one by one slipped eleven quarters into the slot. As the machine locked and began to fill with water, I noticed another patron entering the shop and lo and behold he was wearing lederhosen. After a second glace, I realized it was not actually lederhosen but what could only be considered an American version of lederhosen complete with suspenders, long olive green shorts and white knee high socks covering the most spindly looking pale white legs that I have ever seen. He even had the hat which was hanging from his neck by a cord and dangling down his back. The outfit was complete with a white buttoned down shirt perfectly pressed as if fresh from the cleaner, vest and finished off with giant cataract glasses. His fiery red hair and matching goatee blazed against his powder white skin. I made my way quietly to a seat near the door and took my book out of my bag but couldn’t help but watch this man fumble around the room. He spent a few minutes inspecting all the washers and driers and then settled in next to the one machine in the entire place that was running, mine. He then calls to me, “Excusing me miss but can you tell me if these are washing machines or dryers.” Apparently he cannot read, an unfortunate affliction, because they are clearly marked. I gladly told him that they were washers and he continued the conversation by asking how much money he needed to put in, to which I pleasantly replied, “$2.75”. I like helping when I can. He thanked me politely and went back about his business of spraying each article of clothing in its entirety with stain remover. He must have a very messy job or more likely is a violent serial killer attempting to rid his clothes of all DNA left behind from his hobby. I sit in silence reading and keeping one eye on him until he was perplexed by the digital display counting down the wash cost and again excused himself for interrupting me and asked in his soft spoken voice, “What does the $2.00 display mean?” to which I replied, “That you still need to add $2.00”. “Ah” he exclaimed as if he just solved the Rubix Cube.
As he now sat in front of the machines watching his laundry suds up, the timer rang on my machine. As I headed closer to the lederhosen adorn man sitting directly in front of the machine housing my things, he introduced himself as Dave and in return I politely offered my name. He was not as creepy as he was just strange as if this was a new world to him. He closely watched as I pulled my clothes from the washer and dropped them into my basket. He chuckled quietly as I dropped a pair of under pants on the ground, a bad day for doing my delicates. I threw my clothes in the dryer and added 5 quarters for 30 minutes worth of heat and decided to walk up to the Dunkin Donuts up the block to escape the laundry mat heat and Dave’s chit chat.
When I returned to claim my laundry, I was warmly greeted by the lederhosen clad Dave who was now pulling his laundry from the washer. As he made his way over to the dryer next to the one I was beginning to remove my laundry from, I noticed how powdery pale his skin was and what a stark contrast his hair and beard were. Although I could only see about a 3 inch swath of skin between his knee socks and shorts, his legs were completely hairless and equally as pale as his face. He loaded his clothes and asked how much money the driers were. “Twenty-five cents for every six minutes” I replied. “OK” he said and then left, only to return about forty-five seconds later with a handful of quarters. I can’t imagine where he got them since the nearest shop is a take out Chinese place next door that takes 40 minutes to put together a pu pu platter and some fried rice and there were no cars around other than my own. Lederhosen Dave works in mysterious ways. I folded my clothes and as I was leaving Dave said “I guess I’m on my own now but thank you for all your help.” I told him he was welcome and wished him well in completing his laundry adventure.
Sometime I think I should just go buy a washer and dryer but then where would I meet people like Lederhosen Dave? I guess I could start taking the bus.