“Well, of course you went to the laundromat to get your laundry done! What else would you do at a laundromat?” you cry.
Ahhhhh. Thereby hangs a tale.
Now, being one of those poor souls who owns neither washer nor dryer, a trip to one of these institutions of automatic cleanliness is necessary once a week or so. And believe me, if there wasn’t a bar right around the corner, even once a week would be too often!
I stuffed my dirty laundry into a pillowcase, jumped into my Dodge Aries K muscle car, and off I went.
The drive was short . . .way too short.
I sauntered in with my pillowcase full of clothing that smelled like it just got its “come on down” notification from the Underworld, stuffed a washer, dumped in soap, and paid the extortionist on duty the requisite ransom to run the machine. I then settled back in a plastic chair, ergonomically designed to create something resembling the pain from a shattered spinal column within 27.5 seconds, to pass the time reading.
I’m so silly sometimes.
I had read exactly two paragraphs when I was hit in the head by an extremely hard rubber ball that two shrieking urchins were bouncing on the floor. It scared me to think that a little rubber ball could generate so much hilarity in the youth of today, because if they think that’s funny, they must think that Henry Kissinger is a stand-up comedian.
At any rate, when they saw the hatred in my eyes (well, “eye” would be more accurate, since the other one had already swollen shut and was turning a shade of purple only Liberace could love), they scattered. And, get this, they were crying!
Their mother stomped over to me and asked me if I thought scaring her children was funny.
“No,” I replied. “What I think is funny is badly behaved children boiling in oil – right next to their idiot permissive parents!”
Deciding that further confrontation could be hazardous to her health, she walked away, looking fearful.
OK, back to the book. Two more paragraphs, and . . .
Two other excrescences, one riding in a clothes cart, and the other pushing it, slammed into my right leg, the trick knee of which immediately sent me a post card saying, “Wish you were here.”
After my screaming subsided slightly, the mother of these creatures approached me.
“Why are you screaming like that?” she shouted.
“Because it’s the only way I know how to scream when my knee is dislocated by children who were obviously raised by wolves!” I replied politely.
She took her leave, as well.
I located my pocketknife and slit my jeans at the knee so the swelling could continue unencumbered, sighed, and picked up my book again.
You guessed it . . . two paragraphs, and . . .
“Hello, ma’am ( I hate to be called “ma’am”). Would you like a pamphlet about the Lighthouse Church?”
I looked up from my book.
“Do you see that I am reading?” I asked. "What is it about this activity that you interpret as someone pining for conversation?"
“Well, yes, but this is so much more worthwhile than . . .what’s that you’re reading?”
I showed him the cover. My book was entitled, How to Identify Human Skeletal Remains in the Field. I gave him a wide, evil-looking smile.
“Well, I’ll just leave you a pamphlet,” he said, tossing one in my lap. He proceeded to make a hasty round of the rest of the patrons, then departed.
I stuck the pamphlet in the back of my book, and attempted, once again, to concentrate.
Ten minutes later . . .
“Ma’am?” (there it was again) “I’d like to give you a pamphlet . . .”
Now was my chance! “No, no! I’d like to give you my pamphlet!” I cried, stuffing the pamphlet I’d received earlier into his sweaty hand. Then I went back to my reading.
As the previous saver of souls did, this fellow made the rounds of the patrons, too. I was able to tune him out until the buzzer sounded on my machine, and I had to get up to empty it.
As I was doing so, this moron approached me again. I guess I really looked like I needed saving.
“Ma’am?” (blood pressure rising) “Do you know the way to Heaven?” he asked, with a capital H.
“No, but I know the way to San Jose, if that helps,” I said, tossing a tee shirt in the dryer.
“Ma’am?” (one more time, and I was going to move this man a good deal closer to God than he was prepared to be at that moment) “You don’t understand. I already know the way.”
“Then why did you ask me?”
“I want to know if you know the way.”
“What difference does it make? I’m not going right now, maybe not ever. It sounds boring and I don’t like harp music.”
He was either stupid or deaf.
“But ma’am,” (right! that’s it) wouldn’t you like me to show you the way to Heaven? I’d be glad to!”
“Pal, if you don’t leave me alone, I’d be glad to show you the way to hell!” I replied.
“But you don’t understand. I want to lead you to Heaven!” he cried.
“What are you saying, then? That you're here to kill me? Help! Help, police! Murder! Somebody dial 911!”
As a result of the ensuing fracas and the many statements that had to be taken, my laundry was left in the dryer far too long and was reduced to ashes that were several sizes too small.
But you know what?
It was worth it.