Sunday, April 27, 2008

Things We Learn At the Laundromat

Just sitting here at Granada Laundry (where the wireless is free, but the quad-load washers cost the equivalent of the military budget of a small Latin American nation), and am bombarded by three flatscreen televison, each blasting something different -- basketball on the one over my head, a Spanish-language comedy in the Northeast corner, and a Spanish-language talk/reality show in the Southwest corner.

The cacaphone is so overwhelming that, not only can I not understand anything coming from the Spanish stations, I can't even understand the guys who are commentating the basketball game -- and they're speaking English. I do get a glimpse, between shuffling clothes in various degrees of cleanliness from one washer/dryer to the next, though.

Here are a few of my observations:
  • Televised sporting events -- once so big a part of my life -- have lost all their glamour for me. I mean, I think I'd rather be set on fire than watch another game. This is especially true of basketball.

  • There are certain sight gags that are universally funny, regardless of the language in which they are narrated. When one of the three phones at a desk of the fat, badly dressed boss rings, and he to answer all three of them, one at a time, before he realizes it's his cellphone that's ringing... golly, that's just plain funny. It does kind of beg the question that, if in our little comedy world of suspended disbelief, we're willing to buy that the boss has cellphone technology, how come he never heard of trunk lines, but why be petty?

  • Even in Mexico, there are no depths to which people will not stoop -- including a bread-eating contest -- for the promise of being on television with their favorite soap opera stars. (Somehow, I find this oddly reassuring. I'm not sure why.)

  • Another thing that's universally funny -- losing a contact lens at a crowded fancy restaurant. English or Spanish, seeing two people crawling between the well-dressed legs, searching for a tiny contact lens, while trying to be inconspicuous....? Well, admit it.... just thinking about it makes you chuckle, doesn't it?

  • When basketball is on a flatscreen at a laundromat, husbands are rendered useless. (Another good reason to have a washer and dryer at home. On the service porch. As far from a television as possible.)

  • The laundromat is a pretty good place to meet single men -- until it occurs to you that they are doing their laundry in the laundromat because, at forty-whatever, they can't afford to buy a house in LA either. Not that that makes them a bad catch but.... yeah. Maybe it does.

  • The laundromat is not the place to try and attempt any serious creative writing endeavor.

So, these are the things I've learned from tonight's trip to the laundromat. It really is kind of like going to another country. You don't speak the language, you have to pay for the privilege of being there, but, if you're diligent and lucky, you leave with some cool stuff -- in this case, clean undies.

I spent two and a half hours in another country today -- Vietnam. I had my bi-monthly manicure/pedicure, so I have gorgeous hands and some killer sexy toes, too. But today, I actually indulged in one more thing I'd been dying to have done. I had my eyebrows professionally shaped. It was a more complex process than I'd realized, involving hot wax, tweezers, a brow brush and a small pair of scissors. But I can tell you that, when all was said and done, it was ever so worth it. My eyebrows are totally rockstar. It doesn't seem like much, perhaps, but I really think eyebrows are a radically overlooked facial feature. The ladies at the salon have been bugging me to get it done for ages, and I've resisted. But I finally relented, and experienced, for the first time, the agony that is hot wax hair removal.

Can I ask one question? How in the name of God and all that's holy to women stand bikini waxes? And the idea of Brazilian waxes... I mean, I wear thong underwear, too, but.... Hello! People! Have you never heard of RAZORS!!! To all foreign agents with nefarious intent who might be reading this.... if you are hellbent on getting me to divulge any government secrets, might I recommend a Brazilian hot wax? One strip, and I will reveal any confidentiality I know -- and make a few up besides. A moment of silence, please, for Mr. Schick and Mr. Gillette.

The Vietnamese ladies in the salon had their television turned to HGTV, which was pretty freakin' wonderful, let me tell you. It made me appreciate the joys of homeownership and the fringe benefits that come with same. Like being able to paint your walls real colors (note to self -- chocolate brown and two shades of green in the same room are not only very feng shui, but they actually make a small room look bigger). I love color. I miss color. I'm so tired of beige I could scream. But I won't. Because I live in attached housing, where I share a wall with my next door neighbors (who also happen to be my landlords). The other thing about owning your home is you get to equip it with things that could prove useful in the course of everyday life.

Like a washer and dryer.



(cross-posted at MySpace)


  1. The eyebrows look fab!!
    (It would be too presumptuous to ask for a "before" photo, right?))

  2. Would that I'd thought to take one. They weren't that bad -- I am naturally fair, so I don't have a unibrow. But they were kind of sloppy little caterpillars up there, not the tender flowing arches they are today. But the skin around them is wicked irritated. I'm hoping it all settles down soon. ~C~