Going round in Circles


It’s amazing who you meet in the launderette on a Saturday night. A couple airing their not-so-dirty linen in public and who seemed to want to bring me into it however much I try to bury my nose in the paper. A man comes in and, as all the driers are full, has to wait sitting on the steps up to the side door. He gets dragged into the conversation too. Four pairs of eyes look disapprovingly at three tumble driers that have ceased churning and hold their load suspended and immobilised smugly dry and aired and preventing others from using them.

Then a little woman comes in and unrolling a bag from a coil of black sacks she starts to stuff in the contents of one drum. She is obviously agitated and starts to mutter in an unintelligible language. I hazard a guess at east European, but none of us there understand what she is saying.  Another woman comes in and they jabber on together – their conversation in Greek for all I understand. The foreign women leave in their bubble of language barrier. A sock gets left abandoned but it is too late and they’ve gone. Mine go in as pairs and come out singly – I check my drier carefully!

Among the rest of us conversation turns to 20 year-olds and their use of the washing machine – apparently the couple have asked a homeless lad to look after their house while they are away (from 5 am in the morning – another sore point) they have offered to wash his clothes after a near calamity involving a red pair of boxers and the rest of the washing load – no previous other tones of red (or pink) in sight. This doesn’t bode awfully well for the house-sitting and I think that they have started to realise that too. We laugh and compare notes and they leave for an early night before their dawn start tomorrow.

The man picks up his laundry bag and bids me a cheerful good night – that camaraderie of spending a boring Saturday evening watching a rotating drum, rather than listening to some pounding rock ones, forges certain types of friendship…


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