Sheets and towels today after Baziel left for his new place. The first time on his own – not needing to adjust to his family, or recently to me.
There are three of us immersed in our phones as the machines spin. Her middle-aged thumbs move fast. His elderly finger swipes up.
A young man in a ball cap rolls in, exchanging a brief smile with the woman. He starts shoving his wet stuff into a bag while she returns to her tapping. Two minutes later he’s gone.
It’s such an ordinary time … silence accompanied by a soft whirring. The three of us are alone in our worlds.
Even though I’m doing a blog post, I want contact. My first few visits it was easy. “Which wash setting is best?” “Which driers give you the most heat?” Now it’s more of a challenge. I don’t have any questions.
A newcomer! A fellow wearing a wool hat. In Canada, we call that a toque. (Wait a minute, I’m not in Canada anymore.) I decide to say “Hi” to him if he walks by. He’s putting in his coins.
Here comes the old guy, full bag in hand. I smile. He smiles. I say “Hi”. He says “Dag”.
Now the hatted guy is making an brisk exit. I turn my eyes towards his. He looks the other way.
I see an opportunity. I amble to the woman. Once I get that she speaks English, I say “That man just said ‘Dag’ to me. What does that mean?” She was happy to give me the answer: “It means ‘Hello’ or ‘Good Day’.” Smiling broke out both ways. Contact.
Here’s another old fellow, heading to a drier with his clothes. The one euro coin won’t drop for him. Happily I know that drier. “You need to go to the change machine and get two 50-cent pieces. They’ll work.” This newbie Bruce gets to help an even newer newbie. Sweet.
A young woman, perhaps from India, is leaning into the washer next to mine. I smile and say hello. She has an astonished look on her face and utters a sound which I don’t understand. She turns away quickly. Oh well.
The original tapping woman is running napkins and tablecloths through a pressing machine. We used to call it a “mangle” in homage to crushed fingers. I ask her if this is for a restaurant. She smiles and says yes: “Valentjn”, just around the corner. “I should go.” “Yes, you’re always welcome.”
I share the drier space with a guy about 30. I say hello. He looks at me like I’m from another planet and returns to his shirts. Oh well again.
Now I’m home with bedding and towels that smell sweet. And the lovely scent of laundromat connection lingers. The moments of distance have faded away.