I was always under the impression that the best place to “people watch” was Walmart. There are whole websites devoted to the variety of human kind that graces aisle 3. Turns out, however, that I was wrong.
Not to long ago, our washer decided after 15 years to throw a few bearings, squeak, and then clunk one last time before calling it a wrap. Not being in any hurry to replace it, we have opted to go to the dreaded “laundr-a-mat”. Yes, that place that is open 24/7 and provides shelter to the masses that are short one key appliance. If you have never had the thrill of dragging a mountain of stink into your car, driving it down the road, then dragging it into a place that welcomes things far worse than your dirty laundry, then you have not experienced the “dark side” of Walmart.
When I first arrived at this spiffy clean and fairly new establishment ( it must be fairly new as all the machines still worked), it was empty. Of course, it was also early in the morning, before 8:30, so the crowd that frequents these places were not yet awake. As I watched our clothes turn upside down in the glass window, the crowd shuffled in. First one…then two…then 57. Machines started to fill up quickly, so I was glad I had already staked my claim to two of the better ones. So I just stood there being entertained by flopping suds.
Anyway, I started to actually look around at the other people. Guess what I noticed? First, I was the only son of a bitch in the place that did not tip the scales at 325 plus. Holy crap. Maybe the place doubled as a Weight Watchers meeting site. Nah. Based on what I was looking at, nobody here had watched weight in about 20 years. I then also noticed I was over dressed for the occasion. I actually was wearing jeans and a clean T-shirt. This particular facility must have preferred we all show up in our pajamas. The dirtier the better, and bonus points if they were of the “footie” variety. Brushing hair and teeth were also optional, and breakfast seemed to materialize out of beach bags that doubled as purses.
There was very little chatter as everyone was just into watching their own laundry tumble in soap, but one particular customer figured she would fill the silence with a rather personal phone call. Not of the blue tooth variety, and certainly not of the quiet variety. Of course, we could only hear the one half of the conversation, and that is just as well, because based on the audible part we could hear, the part we could not hear must have involved a whole lot of birds-and-bees discussion. Did not bother her. We were all entertained, and my laundry continued to fluff unaffected by the current XXX rating the silence had become.
By the time I left, the place was packed. The blend of bleach, powder detergent, stains, and human sweat was, to say the least, overpowering. But hey, I was done. In a couple of days I will return, but maybe this time I will start at 6AM so I am gone before the wave of destruction drags in countless garbage bags of 2 week old smell.