Loving the coin-op

About six months ago my dryer died. It’s beautiful, clean, modern, hip - and Chinese so don’t count on it working for very long. I called a repair guy and it’s $90 for a house visit which would be applied to the repair - otherwise non fundable. I want the repair to be $40 and I don’t want to lose the extra $50.

So I’ve discovered the coin-op. I tried several. There are sad ones with lonely, often homeless people. My things have been stolen. Those don’t have cameras or attendants. I found the one where all the young single people hang out. In the summer that’s mostly surfers but in the winter it’s college students who flirt and sip margaritas. These are expensive, have fabulous vending machines and cameras. There is actually an honor system on lost items which I find very endearing.

The coin-op I’ve settled on is quite wonderful. The prices are moderate. You load a card and use it to operate the machines so no hoarding of quarters all week. There are regulars. I know who will be there on a Saturday or Sunday night. We all smile and nod. We’ve started talking to each other. Baby steps here. They have a tv and cameras.

Isn’t there something a little humbling about a coin-op? I was thinking this as I watched the people around me fold and hang their laundry. Everything just so, smoothed out, no wrinkles. Like there is real pride in how they care for their clothes. They may not own or have access to a Maytag, but damn they can fold! Older couples maneuver king size sheets. A young family with the mom teaching her daughter how to measure soap. There was a wheelchair bound woman, admittedly a little loony, who rolled around picking up the wayward socks and bringing them back to their owners.

There is an attendant at this facility too, Jeremy. I’m only slowly learning his story. He’s about 18 or 20 years old. He’s the youngest of three boys and talks to me often about my boys and how much they remind me of his siblings. He is totally into service. He asks everyone if they need help carrying the laundry from their cars into the coin-op and then offers help out. He’s quick if your card isn’t working. Honest to God, he speaks about 8 different languages which are probably limited to laundry but still he can help a vast array of people from all over the world. I’m sure this isn’t his life’s ambition, but he does it well and I appreciate it.

So when we buy pizza from the place next door - $6 for a large cheese - we share with him. He keeps an eye on my kids.

Interestingly, the former boyfriend candidate lives a block away. I texted him and asked if he wanted to meet us there. He said that people in the coin-up smell; there were too many drips, ha, ha. I texted back that he was right, and there wasn’t any room for one more drip and he should stay at home.

So I gave Jeremy the pizza I was saving for the FBC. You don’t insult me and my peeps and think there’s no penalty.


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