There is a laundromat on Ninth Avenue near Forty-sixth street that does not have a name. The awning is forest green. And unless you were looking for it, you wouldn't notice that it was there. If you have an hour, one load of laundry will only set you back six dollars, though you should know that the machines only take quarters.
Near the window beside the doorway stands a row of three royal blue chairs, built together and connected by a black metal rod, though they're not anchored to the ground, so they move together –––– if someone sitting beside you moves a little bit, or gets up too quickly, you feel it.
This isn't a designer establishment. There's not anything about the place that grabs your attention or pulls you in, which is why the place is a miracle. There is no television. There is no radio. You can sit inside and so long as no one around you is talking, the only sound you'll hear is the hum of the washing and drying machines.
Ten minutes after I had set my clothes in the washing machine and had found a seat on one of the blue chairs, a gentleman walked in –––– confident and determined, though unfamiliar with the lay of the land. Quarters could be had, change could be made, another patron had explained to him, but you had to visit the counter on the other side of the place, by way of the other front door and entryway, just next door. He left and then he came back in, quarters-in-hand.
We started talking after he asked me what I was reading. He said he had stepped in a puddle while wearing his dress shoes, and that he had been at a gym nearby, working out, and that he didn't want to wear his running shoes as if they were dress shoes –––– so he had set his dress shoes in the dryer. Once they were dry, he'd slip them on again.
Before he left, he offered that he had studied sociology and was earning his masters, that he worked as counselor and that in time he'd be a professor. "I'd teach the easiest class you could ever take," he said, "I would just want my students to actually like what they're learning."
January 25th, 2020