Because I drew the short straw, again, I’m sitting in the Wash‘n’Go laundromat in Richfield, Utah, on a hot July afternoon with Calvin as my laundry buddy. The laundromat is an archetype of its species – sickly green paint on the cinderblock walls, dull brown asphalt tiles spattered with fleck of yellow and orange on the floor. Large windows on either side of the front door are plastered halfway up with fliers advertising trucks and hay and various used appliances for sale, a fundraising dinner and dance benefiting a family whose little girl has cancer, posters for lost dogs, and an offer from someone wanting to trade a lawnmower for a chainsaw. A double row of washers, back-to-back, runs down the center of the floor; the far wall is lined with industrial-sized drum clothes dryers. Along the wall where I am, there is a row of uncomfortable hard plastic chairs, a vending machine for tiny boxes of detergent and fabric softener, and a change dispenser that turns $1 and $5 bills into quarters. The year is 1978. The air is permeated with the smells of overheated fabric and Clorox.
There is no one in the place except for me, the old lady who runs the laundromat, and (more…)