We’re All the Same Here

The first time I used a laundromat was in Milwaukee the summer of 2011. I worked at a missions camp for three months, and every weekend my team and I would venture to the laundromat down the road to take care of our dirty clothes. I’d always had a washer/dryer wherever I’d lived, so this was a foreign experience for me.

I actually enjoyed it. I enjoyed sitting to the side with my laptop while my clothes tumbled in a chamber next to those of an African-American man twice my age and a single mom’s on the other side, her three toddlers nipping at her heels on the other side of the room.

The laundromat is the great equalizer. We’re all the same here. We all have dirty clothes, we all need cleaning, and we all unite here for restoration.

My current home in Asheville does not have a washer/dryer setup, and so for the first time since Milwaukee, I find myself loading up the car every other week for a trip to the laundromat down the road. It’s a nice one, too. Free WiFi, free coffee, lots of space for anxious kiddos to run around and lots of rocking chairs for anxious introverts to sit and rock and write.

It’s no secret I often feel inferior to the rest of the human race. Particularly men. I don’t feel very manly when I’m quiet or sensitive or anxious or reclusive or self-doubting or writing about my compounding thoughts and feelings.

And yet here at the laundromat, we’re all the same, he and I. The bearded man in the poncho and the tattooed one with gauged earrings.

We’re all loading up our chambers.

Pouring detergent.

Adding quarters.

Pushing buttons.

Sitting and waiting. Together. The same.

Every last one of us in need of restoration.

This is Day 13 of #MakeNovemberTolerable. Keep checking back every day this month for new stories and discoveries of beauty where beauty may be hard to find.

  • naturgesetz

    I suppose I must have used a laundromat when I was in grad school, but I have no memory of it. I remember using one when I was in college. One time an overweight guy rubbed against me several times. I stopped him by sitting on one of the machines. Have you ever had unwelcome advances in a laundromat?