Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I can’t believe it is only Tuesday! Maybe it is because I am really looking forward to Friday, or maybe it is because the extreme heat we’ve been having here in Calgary is making time drag.

I took my approximately weekly trip to the Laundromat tonight. The Laundromat is about a block away from my house, and has been an endless source of bizarre “entertainment”.

The very first time I went there was a Sunday morning. I was greeted by a large woman of Eastern European descent who gave me the rundown on the place. Amidst advising me on what size of loads the washers and dryers were capable of handling, she mixed in warnings about leaving my laundry unattended. (I had decided to run home to enjoy my coffee while the machines were doing their thing.) She said the she was there in the mornings to keep an eye on things, but if I went there in the evening, I should keep watch over my clothes myself. I should have taken that as a sign to do my laundry elsewhere, but when you are limited to the mode of transportation provided by Mother Nature, the options are not forthcoming.

I took to doing my laundry on weekday evenings since the machines were generally not as busy. I quickly discovered that the laundromat, which is unstaffed in the evening, is a haven for some of the oddest folk the streets of Calgary has to offer, and the odd non-human parasite as well. It is not uncommon to walk in and find someone sleeping in one of the not-so-comfortable molded plastic chairs the facility offers its clients who wish to take a load off while doing a few loads. The sleeping folk at least kept to themselves.

You know the classic sketch comedy routine where a person goes into a laundromat and takes off all their clothes to wash them? I thought that was funny until I witnessed it (nearly, thankfully) happen on an early visit. The man, then clad only in a white t-shirt that may have seem action in World War II and a pair of shorts proceeded to fall asleep for the duration of his laundry session.

Then there was the woman who asked to borrow my cell phone to call a cab. Being the kind-hearted guy I am, I loaned it to her, and she proceeded to call her drug dealer to order some weed. As if that was not bad enough, she arranged to have the dealer conveniently drop the shipment right there at the laundromat.

Of course, among all these crazy folk, there were a few genuinely nice people as well. A few offered advice on which dryer dried fastest. One even gave me a review of every laundromat in the downtown area. He claimed to have been coming to my laundromat for 30 years if you can believe it! I sincerely hope my days of having to use that facility come to a close sometime soon, but is sure is good to know that the business is well established, and will likely always be there when I need it.

At the end of the day, my clothes are clean and I have a handful of seemingly unbelievable stories to tell. It could be worse.


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