My New Church Is a Laundromat
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," missionaries for them Old Time Religions! We know quite a number of pantheons that have jars of jam older than Genesis, so if you're looking for spiritual uplift, please take a number and be seated. Someone will be with you shortly!
A few months ago, we at "The Gods Are Bored" received a water bill of about $400. After Mr. Johnson revived from his swoon, he called the water department. They said we'd used 30,000 gallons of H2O in a quarter of a year.
The folks at the water department said this wasn't terribly unusual, especially if we had a sprinkler system in our yard. Which we will never have, even if global warming turns New Jersey into Nevada.
Follow-up on this: Our water meter is broken, and it'll take a plumber to fix it. Our last water bill was $15, so we're holding off on the plumber.
Still, the spectre of 30,000 gallons of life-giving fluid flowing through Chateau Johnson in just three months sent me scurrying for a solution to the supersized sluicing.
Voila! I've discovered a Holy Temple par excellence! It's the laundromat.
I should write a whole book, Zen and the Art of Fabric Softener.
Okay. The first time I lugged 10 days worth of laundry to the laundromat, I duly took along a novel. Have you ever tried to read with kids running around, and people talking, and a television right above you showing a Spanish-language soap opera? Uh huh.
Lesson learned. Now I leave the reading matter at home. I shove the 10-day mass of laundry into the extra large washer. (Six loads - think of the savings in H2O!) Then I sit there and watch all the familiar stuff churning and turning in the bubbly silver drum. It's hypnotic. After ten minutes you feel like you've had a spliff. You almost regret that final spin cycle.
Then all the stuff goes into those huge wall-mounted dryers. Whoa. If the washer's a spliff, those things are shrooms! Ten minutes into the drying cycle, you're flying around the bay with Timothy Leary.
So much for the Zen (or I guess Jerry Garcia) part. Now we get to the philosophical benefits of the laundromat sans novel or newspaper.
Instead of the little kids being bothersome, you flirt with them. They're bored as hell and glad for the attention. Have you ever seen a little kid that wasn't cute as a button? Me neither. Especially when there's a mom there to cart the tot away, and it's not me.
Then you look at the mountains of clothing dancing in the dryer, and you think, "Gosh, people need me. There's Mr. Johnson's skivvies, the sexy devil. A stylish top belonging to The Spare. The doggone perennial Les Claypool t-shirt that's otherwise melded to The Heir's back. The Heir's favorite Mr. Peanut pajamas. Maroon and gray shirts to wear to the Vo-Tech when I teach. More maroon. More gray. I spend a lot of time at the Vo-Tech. Not complaining, either. They need me there too.
Now the towels are just a tad moist. Ten more minutes. That's when you either start praying to the bored gods for peace throughout all the earth, or else you get to thinking.
I do some great thinking at the laundromat. Yesterday I was able to justify wearing my posh Colonial-era gooey gown to the Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm, just a few glorious days hence.
Whoa, I thought. I can be The Fairy Godmother, just scratch the God part. God's a dude, and I'm a gal, so "Godmother" is an oxymoron. So, this weekend look for me as The Fairy Mother of Spoutwood, doling out granted wishes and strewing good will on cheery faeries of all sorts.
Trust me, I'd never thought of a benign fairy character for that Colonial gown if I hadn't gone to the Super Suds.
The moral of this sermon is: We're all multi-tasking these days. Why not worship at the laundromat?
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS