Now that I’m doing commercial laundry, I’m going to The Family Bubble on Sutherland Avenue two or three times a month.  I tried one other laundromat, just to say I’d compared this place to somewhere a little less fancy (it has free internet and eleven ceiling fans), but the Super Wash House on Central was not only sketchy as hell, but also a little more expensive.  I will say, though, that the Wash House’s scruffiness and general air of your scary neighbor’s damp basement (rather, what you imagined your scary neighbor’s basement might be like) were a little more exciting than this clean, quiet laundromat.

At the Wash House, every floor tile was cracked in a starburst pattern, with fissures the color of tobacco juice spreading from corner to corner.  Judge Judy was on a tiny TV from 1994 up in the corner.  Every ceiling tile was a bullseye of concentric brown rings, some bowing out in the middle.  So of course it makes perfect sense that I wrote one of the best poems I’ve written all year (not saying much) there, sitting in a lonely plastic chair, watching the laundry spin in the washers.

At the Family Bubble, we have soaps.  And snappy-dressing Asian chicks and nerdy-looking Asian guys.  And a slick change machine that spews out forty quarters after I feed it a ten-dollar bill.  It’s fabulous, walking around with fistfuls of change — when I had occasion to use British pounds, I remember feeling this way, really excitingly wealthy.  I almost stopped at the snack machine and got a palm of Raisinettes — that’s how rich I felt.

A strange decision that I have enough information to make: I do prefer soaps over Judge Judy.

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