I find myself at this little laundromat about twice a week as a general rule. I try to go late at night when the weather gets cold because that's when the heat feels the best. It isn't the heat that keeps me going though, it's this smell. It's a familiar mixture of clean and sweet. The kind of smell you'd imagine if you could wash bubble gum and caramel apples.
It takes me to a place where I'm ten years old again and my mom has sent me out for the afternoon with three sweaty dollar bills and tells me to "Go Play!" The Laundry next door had vending machines and a TV and I had cash!
I sat in that laundry with my bottle of Pepsi, y'know the tall kind with the pitted glass edges and the frosty white rim around the top. The bottles that you had to be careful not to tip your teeth on because it sent chills through your neck and hands. The Pepsi was always accompanied by a $.35 bag of Cheese Crackers. Forty or so little octagons spread out on an old card table that you would swear if you crammed them all in your mouth at once and chewed really hard that they tasted like carrots. The hot Indiana sun coming in through the windows and a row of dryers made for lots of sleepy ten year old afternoons the summer that my mother helped her best girlfriend though her D-I-V-O-R-C-E. Me in the corner of that laundry leaning on the table listening to the women talk like adults about everything and nothing.
I learned how to fold socks, how to get whites whiter, that Luke and Laura from General Hospital weren't like those other fake couples on "The stories"... And how not to scare a man off with comittment.