I went to the laundromat late last night. You know, The Laundromat; the place where the party people go to meet and get wild and go sex- crazy. This is the place where it all goes down!
I pull in, and my headlights scan across the empty parking lot. A tumbleweed blows by in front of me. A tumbleweed. I'm from the east coast and have never gotten used to this: the constant visual reminder of loneliness and desolation. I follow it with just my eyes. In a movie, when a tumbleweed blows across an empty parking lot late at night, it's a cue that something bad is about to happen, but what could be worse than driving to an abandoned mini mall at 10pm to wash blankets covered in dog vomit.
Inside the place is fully lit. There's an old guy with one leg about six inches shorter than the other walking down the aisle between the machines. Beyond him is the little abuelita who works there, setting up a fan in front of a huge wet spot on the floor. Above her head is a huge flat screen TV with a silent Telenova: some woman in an evening gown is on her knees begging a guy not to go. She's pleading with every part of her body. It's extreme but I love it. Frank, explicit emotion all in 2 seconds.
I drag my bag to the back where a repairman is lying on the ground looking under a machine with a flashlight; he's surrounded by 3 middle-aged amigos all peering down, studying, observing. What is it with guys and the mechanics of things? It defies race, creed and color. In my lifetime I have known more than a few guys who would pull over on the side of the road to look at a crane. A crane. It's partly sweet and partly unfathomable. How is it possible to devote such fascination to a thing?
After I put the blankets in, I take out my phone and re-read my sext exchanges. They're good. They're really good. The photos, the words, everything. In 2 seconds I am fully having hardcore, crazy sex in my head. How is it possible? All my buttons have been pushed. There is no more me. There is no more understanding. There is no more sense. Just me, the guy, sweat, breath, tongues and motion. All in my imagination. I look up and the amigos, the abuelita, and the guy with the longer leg are gathered behind me looking at my phone. I show them the photos. I spread my fingers over the screen and we go in close. We read and re-read the words. They all nod and smile and high-five each other. This is good; this is explicit and frank. This song comes on, the abuela turns it up, and we dance until we are all sweaty and breathless.