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Lessons from a Laundromat

Texas does many things very well. Laundromats doesn’t seem to be one of them. A fellow gate guard found one in her town to be so awful she reported it to the local Chamber, or the BBB, I’m not sure which. And that was after she’d rejected the best Nixon has to offer. We have two laundromats in town Both have one chair and no working air conditioning. When it’s already 104 and the dryers are going, it gets pretty warm.

My next RV is SO having a washer and dryer, even if you can only wash 3 pairs of socks and 1 pair of jeans at a time. At least I won’t be shaking drowned cockroaches out of my wet towels.

I know all you 5th wheelers are gloating right now. I’ve learned some lessons from my laundromat days, though, like always make sure the top is screwed on tight on the liquid Tide and you can get change at the car wash when the coin dispenser at the laundromat doesn’t work (which is surprisingly often) since the bank charges a dollar for a roll of quarters.

I’ve learned it’s better to fold clothes at home unless I take cleaning products with me since there isn’t really a clean surface to put things on. The floor is like a movie theater floor where your shoe sticks to invisible residue. This is especially challenging for me since I’m remarkably clumsy and always seem to be leaving a trail of underwear and washcloths.

I’ve learned it’s important to take my own reading material since, in our laundromats here in Nixon, there isn’t a single magazine or even a bulletin board where you can look for kittens and car parts and garage sales and Friday night Karaoke specials.

Some of the more convicting lessons I’ve learned at the laundromat, I learned in Oregon. I wrote about this in the blog I maintained for about 3 weeks in 2009. If you’re one of the 3 people who read it, you can just skip the rest of this post.

In the laundromat in Port Orford, they had a rather extensive selection of reading material.

The Holy Bible (KJV)
Our Daily Bread
and the following magazines:
AARP
The American Legion
Allen Brother’s (The Great Steakhouse Steaks)
ACLU: At War with America
Freedom 1st
The New Yorker
Popular Science
Horses.com
Handy: The Handyman Club of America
Cigars International
Cabala’s
The Progressive Farmer
Voice of the Martyrs

Looking at the display, my first thought was, I’ll bet the folks who donated these wouldn’t much like each other.
(It’s always easier for me to make obvious, or even profound life applications for others)

There are some folks I know who read The Daily Bread that think the ACLU is the great left-wing conspiracy headquarters and believe AARP is its evil twin.

I also know folks who order from Cabala’s and have nothing but scorn for anyone who would read Popular Science.

I don’t know anyone (as far as I know) that reads The Progressive Farmer, so I don’t have any idea how they might feel about Allen Brother’s Steaks.
But the small-minded, bigotry just jumps right out at you, doesn’t it?
And there I stood, thinking that exact thing. Thinking about what type of person would have donated each item and deciding if I liked these imaginary people based on my stagnant pool of stereotypes.
How often do I find myself drowning in the misconception that other people should want to be like me – at least share my enlightened views. And if not, well, possibly they wouldn’t make very charming dinner companions.
Funny that I remember feeling that way at 25 and 35 and 45. Since I’m not 55 yet, maybe this is the time for a change.

Here in the melting heat of southern Texas, I find myself in the most unlikely environment I could ever imagine. This is possibly the last place I would have thought I would ever choose to live, working in a most unlikely industry, doing the oddest job I can think of. Even after just 6 months, I’ve changed. I developed admiration and gained an appreciation for so much and so many.

I’m old, but there may be hope for me yet…

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14 thoughts on “Lessons from a Laundromat

  1. Hey ladies my husband just started working on your rig he’s the blue dully or green explore do not try smileys laundry mat I am ashamed to say it is worse than Nixon I hate it and the few times I have had to use it only 4 dryer work well if you want to call it that cost .25 for 5 min of low heat so cost ya atleast 2.50 just to dry them and 1.25 to wash on one of the few washes that work we would be happy to let yall use ours at our house sometimes when ya want a break and in need of reading materials we have plenty

    • Hey there, Terry! You must be Brandon’s wife? Nice guy! Thanks for your kind offer. Heidi did the laundry today but retreated to the library between cycles! 🙂
      Good to know about the Smiley laundry mat. We’d thought about checking it out since we get our mail there. We’ll save our quarters! Didn’t realize it could get much worse than Nixon… Thanks for reading, and for writing! Now when people read Fork, they’ll know I’m not exaggerating! 😉

  2. I’m really skinny but even my jeans won’t fit in the micro
    sink we have so I can’t hand wash. Plus the guys would crash the gate if I aired my ‘undies’ . A portable on wheels like a taco truck could be a viable option. Just add it to the nurse trailer…..

    • Chris – it’s tempting! 😀 I truly have never seen laundromats like we have here and Jill said the one she went to was even worse… I may resort to hand washing! 😉

  3. No kidding, Tom. Not much of a mystery as to why there’s no AC, huh! Tonight I thought the guys said they were going out for snakes, but they said steaks which is much better. While I’m sure they won’t bring me a steak (altho’ they do bring us ice cream bars – we were gifted with 8 total this week!), they would bring me snakes if they caught them.:D Take care, Tom! Always love hearing from you!

  4. Wow Debbie, that spin cycle, ac vent looks a might (Rusty)! Prolly gave it up ions ago. Liked your comment about Texas Summer March 1-Oct 1 think.
    Read on another rv forum, about Gate guarders sometimes sit on other’s gate, so both can get away for a short while. Guess it has to be same company personnel? Well ladies stay hydrated and keep the great blogging, us wanna be’s our watchin’ and readin’. Thanks for all you do,and stay safe,but have fun!

  5. Jill, so I guess if you and I pooled our meager resources and opened a clean chain, it’d probably be illegal… I may have been exaggerating a bit about the stack-able capacity. You can probably wash two pairs of jeans! 😉

  6. I think it is a Texan law – no air and no chairs!! I have had a washer and dryer my whole life until now. However, I would go crazy washing a pair of socks and a pair of jeans for one load. I am a go and get it done person. Then I am done for the week. I have started looking at it as a challenge!! Monday I will visit a new one!!

  7. This post and the one about used groceries made me laugh and think, ugh! Not a convenient way to live. You’re sacrificing a lot of comforts. I like the Change Machine picture. Change is tomorrow’s lesson. May I borrow that photo to use? Interesting life you and Heidi have chosen.

    • Debby – you can use any picture or anything else from my blogs, anytime. It’s part of the shared DNA thing. 😀
      You’re right, it is an interesting life. Coming from a city of 150, 000, I was accustomed to conveniences. Stripping down to the essentials by living in an RV, has taught me to take a deeper look at what the real essentials are for my heart and my hope. It’s given me a new perspective and a new anchor and of course, a new appreciation for fresh lettuce and a clean washer. 🙂

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