tonight i was going to a birthday dinner and had to detour to the drug store. parked in front of the laundry mat. and it made me think of this man i knew and talked to during my weekly laundry days. was sometime in 1990ish.
this man, who helped me hold my sheets, had only one arm. how did he fluff and fold so perfectly with one arm only? and he kept that laundry mat super clean.
anyway… the laundry mat was about 25 yards from my temporary apartment. it was cute apartment – typical dingbat apartment in l.a.. there was parking in the back for the tenants-one car per apartment. i parked in the street. right in front of the building. It was not the prettiest building, but my apartment was one of 6 large ones. It was facing south and had a road view. in the morning the sunlight came in through most of the kitchen window and part of the terrace which was as long as the building’s front. the sunlight lit up the place all day long coming in throughout the doors and window that opened up to the terrace. i loved it. There was no air conditioning system and the heater was an unsafe wall unit. but i loved it anyway- was cute and my cup of tea.
the neighbors seemed nice enough, too.
my neighbor , michael, lived across and he and his girl friend always fought and argued. it was comical but tiresome and a lot sad. but they seemed to be nice in their own foreign way. i’m not sure what their problem was…i know there was always a problem, though. it was a rare day when it was a quiet one. not sure …but i think they were from arizona. phoenix.
downstairs was a cute ‘older’ guy. i thought he was older but he must have been only in his late twenties or thirty. Jimmy played his guitar outside in the garden. pretty good. he lived on the bottom apartment with the a walk way through the garden that lead to his front door. he played his guitar just outside his door. he also played at the bar down one street over. i never did see him play there , but i did hear him as i sat on the terrace upstairs and i would clap and yell down something like “so cool, jimmy. that sounded pretty righteous!”. He played pretty groovy sounds, he was nice and it sounded perfect, and rent was cheap and that was perfect.
Next to jimmy was a nice family two or three kids, husband and wife. nice family but i hardly saw them. their apartment was the largest with two bedrooms. Upstairs from them was the owner and landlord, Helen. she was pretty cool. her place smelled like she was cooking. all the time. that smell was there even when she hadn’t cooked anything that day. it was the smell that had gotten stuck to the walls and the furniture and her clothes.
the place was old and not really kept up or updated. there was not washer and dryer for the tenants to share so i spent many hours going to the laundry mat and the dry cleaners.
Harvey, the laundry mat owner, had this nice employee part time. he happened to be there the days that i did laundry. that was a huge help because he always helped fold the sheets. i mean really fold the sheets. he kept the facility so clean and he moved like lightning… pretty fast and amazing. he had extra dryer sheets and always asked everyone in there if we wanted fabric softener sheets. or he asked who needed baskets carried to their cars. He raised his one arm and one hand and he chuckled while he asked if we needed a hand with folding or hanging.
so this laundry mat in front of the parking slot reminded me of all this …all in a matter of three minute drug store visit.