So I made it through college, finally had a decent job and yet I was still hauling my dirty underwear to the local laundromat. You'd think that at age 27 I'd have my shit together enough to at least own a washer, but no. And the awesome apartment that I rented didn't include a musty old basement with it's own washers.
That's why it's officially eleven twenty seven pm on a Friday and I am walking down the still bustling sidewalks of Chicago. The summer heat radiated from the concrete beneath my feet and the humid air caused my hair to cling to the back of my neck.
I had Weezer in my left ear, the earbud to my right tucked down the front of my shirt. The old mesh laundry sack was tossed over my shoulder as I made my way past a tempting street vendor, mmmmm street tacos at midnight, my favorite. But the fact that I had dirty underwear pressed against my back sort of killed the moment and so onward I trudged.
The building that housed the many washers and dryers was actually very clean, modern and well lit. Nothing like the old seedy joint I used to frequent back in college. At least here you didn't feel like you needed to go straight home and shower in bleach for fear of contracting some weird disease.
Pulling out the small plastic credit card that was used to pay for laundry soap and to activate the machines, I swiped it once for a rolling cart, tossed my bag into it and made my way across the nearly empty room to an open washer.
Using two washers I separated, loaded and then settled in for the long haul with my kindle.
When the buzzer went off for my delicates, I slowly dug through the pieces I'd washed to put my bras aside to air-dry. Walking across the aisle to a dryer, my panties in hand, is when I first noticed him.
He was sitting on a bench in the next aisle over facing me, a tattered paperback novel in his hands; his legs stretched way out into the walkway. I blinked once as I realized I was staring and awkwardly holding my wet underwear in my hands as if I were offering them to him as a gift.