“$9.45,” the barista announced and I handed her a five dollar bill and 18 quarters.
“I won’t be needing these anymore,” I thought to myself as I reached into my coin bag and handed her most of my heavy quarter stash. I had just completed doing the laundry at the laundry mat for my family and was treating myself to a Starbuck’s treat.
For the past year while I lived in a rental house with no working washer or dryer, I began visiting a nearby laundry mat to complete this chore. I first got used to making sure to have cash with me. I even designated a ziplock bag to holding quarters. I quickly got used to carrying the filled laundry bins of dirty clothes to the car, driving a few miles to a laundry mat, filling 3-4 washers with dirty clothes for 32 minutes and then transferring the wet clothes to 3-4 dryers for 10-20 minutes. Both machines require quarters to run, 11 to wash and 4-6 to dry.While the machines worked their cleaning magic, I just sat and waited. I filled this time reading or checking my email. Then I’d stand at a table, fold the cleaned clothes and sometimes, treat myself to Starbuck on the way home.
Today was my last time to complete this cleaning cycle because on Thursday, HHGregg is delivering a washer and dryer to the new house that we built. No more quarter-stashing needed. No more carrying the laundry detergent in the trunk. No more devoted time to washing and drying all the clothes during one visit to the laundry mat. Now, I could run a load of wash at anytime throughout my week in the comfort of my our home. And I would enjoy doing many other tasks while my clothes cleaning magic happened. Smiling, I sipped my drink.
Yet, a small part of me sipped my drink and felt a little sad. No longer would I visit this spot which gave me a glimpse at a whole other world. One where mostly Hispanic men gathered to clean the clothes for their family. One where flat screen TVs played soccer and Telemundo. One where I used my phone to figure out the translation of the posted signage. One where I was the minority, a white woman.
As the 2016 Presidential Election speeches talk of the widening gap between the wealthy and the poor, I never want to forget this world I joined last year. The world of apartment renters. This world of hard-working, happy dark skin men making the magic of clean clothes happen for their families.
==========================================================================NOTE: Often I think my SOL needs to be a big, important topic. Today’s post reminds me that SOL is instead meant to be just that, a slice out of MY life. Looking back, I realized I have written about laundry three times before! HERE and HERE and HERE !!