On this day in 1934, the first “Washateria”—most nowadays call it a laundromat—opened in Fort Worth, Texas. This is kind of a special day for me…kind of, for you see, I was born in such a place.
It was just a brief, late-night encounter between a drifting spin cycle and a lonely unbalanced load. I was wrapped in Downy sheets and left in a plastic basket.
My setting has never been “Normal.” It’s either “Permanent (De)Press” or “Heavy Duty.” Sad, bored, low-sudsing? Sure. But I noticed early on that if I put on a happy face folks were nicer. Wrung out on the inside, fluffed up on the outside: Blue Cheer.
Seen a lot of folks come through these doors, and I’ve noticed that most everyone has their hang-ups. Carefree young couples, acting as if they’ll always be wrinkle-free. Wheezy senior citizens who still haven’t figured out when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em. Kids pounding the hell out of a vending machine trying to jar loose a precariously-hanging Butterfinger.
I’ve tried to get out in the world and pass myself off as something I ain’t, but I guess who we really are always shows through. Panhandlers don’t even ask me for money; they just want to know if I’ve got change for a dollar. Sure, buddy, here ya’ go.