Laundry, at 7:30 at night, in the laundromat down the street from my house. It was snowing,
those giant white flakes that drift down in intervals, which make you dizzy to
look through. An emergency run, despite the beginnings of the cold that was about to take me down
for good, because the only clothes that fit me all smell like smoke and old man
and meat. My friend J. had let his laundry go for far too long, and there are
two giant bins of it. He picks me up in his big red truck, and we skid a little
down the street and around the corner. We are not the only ones there—a couple
with a tiny baby, a mom and her daughter all dressed in green, who picks up my
quarters when I drop them.
The washing machines have the most dizzying spin cycle ever.
We are fascinated. We are kind of Laundromat nerds. I cough a lot. There is a mishap with the
vending machine; my dryer goes dead after ten minutes and the attendant, a boy who is barely
old enough to shave but plenty old enough to hate the world and everything in
it and you’re not my real dad! finally surlies over, pokes at it for awhile, then
shrugs and refunds my money. I move my clothes over to a new drier. J. pulls his out. I tell him I feel closer to him, now that I have seen his underwear. We make that’s-what-she-said jokes about loads. The radio station is clearly an iPod set to shuffle, because the playlist makes no sense. A thousand
years later, finally we have washed, we have dried, the snow is still falling
but the place is warm and so are our clothes. J. is eating Junior Mints.
"This is going to make a really boring entry," I croaked.
"You can tell everyone you saw my underwear. That’s
what I’d tell everyone if I were writing it."
"Will you write a guest entry about my underwear?"
"Do you want me to hack into your weblog?"
"No," I wheezed. "Oh, hell no."
"Well, then," he said.
"Okay, I’ll write ‘J. has really good underwear. Check
it out, ladies!’"
"I’ve got good taste from the inside out," he said. "Are you
"But does it go all the way through? It does not."
"Oh, Anne. Why must you make your column a column of lies?"
"Hey, everyone, I am addicted to crystalline
methamphetamines, and then I snorted Arm & Hammer laundry soaps! And then
there was a hole in space and time and I fell in it and I died and J. has cool
underpants. They are from Urban Outfitters. They were free!" I coughed.
"You have to be a little more subtle than that. Even on the Internet."
"It’s really good underwear, though. That will be the
"But still really boring."