Wednesday, July 30, 2008

In which I visit the Laundromat

Laundromat in Toronto, CanadaImage via WikipediaAt first, the room looks blue.
The walls aren't blue.  They're white, with green tile trim.  The sporadically cracked tile on the floor isn't blue, either, but rather the pink-brown of fake sandstone.  A bright bank of gumball machines stands guard at the front door, and deep green potted plants and bright framed posters of flowers and line the walls.  But the heavy curtains blocking out the bright mid-afternoon sun are the same dirty-robin's-egg as the veneer of the washing machines, and the bluish shadows color the whole room.
The wall of blue is crenelated with alternating washing machines: double loader, triple loader.  The detergent wells do not all snap shut completely, so detergent bottles and watering cans sit on top of them, keeping sudsy water from escaping.  A tall potted plant sits on top of a washer.  Its upper branches splay against the mostly-white ceiling, which is marred by water stains, and bulges worryingly behind the ceiling fan.  A big-screen TV perched above the the machines, silent and dark, surveys the room.  Nearby, a scale stands under a yellow sign announcing, "Drop off service 1/2 LB to 10 LB Minimum $5."  a pile of neatly folded white blankets waits nearby on a wooden table, next to bulging duffel, laundry, and garbage bags.
 A matching table stands between banks of dryers.  It is surrounded by chairs: green and white metal folding chairs, and a white molded-plastic chair.  The tables are made of a yellow-brown wood that clashes with the dingy dryers and the pinkish floor tiles.
Near this table, laundry carts sit.  Black-brown rust peeks through their dingy, flaking paint.
Is dingy a color?  The dryers and carts might have been white once, or perhaps cream or pale yellow.  It's impossible to tell, though.  Now, they're just dingy, faded, aged.
A yellow sign reads:
We Are Not Responsible
Of Your Property
Watch Your Own
In the back, fenced-off area, a sign warns, "No Admittance."  Behind the fence, garment bags hang from hangers on a rack, and laundry detergent -- $.50 a load -- lines a shelf.
At 3:00 the Laundromat is nearly empty, and the air is filled with the mixed scents of mildew and fabric softener.  By 4:00, a handful of customers sit, stare at their spinning clothes, and chat.  Sweet scents leak out of nearby bakeries and into the Laundromat.  Neighbors wander in an out, calling through the open door in English, Spanish, Yiddish.

The good

This was another assignment that I've never done anything with.  Not only am I pleased with the result, so was my professor.  This isn't quite the kind of thing you can pitch, though, is it? 
I hope you enjoyed it.
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