Tuesday, August 03, 2004

I think I Was Just on Candid Camera, Except it Wasn't Funny

I was just at the laundromat, and had the strangest experience. When I came into the laundromat, there was only one other customer there, a rather scary looking old man. This didn't phase me; there's usually a scary old man there. Never the same scary old man, so I don't worry too much about it. Then after I got all my laundry going, it seemed like a never-ending parade of couples came in, and I got to feeling like the lonely loser. Wouldn't it be nice to have someone else to do laundry with? But then, from the couples I could hear, there came an endless string of commands from the wives. I was glad I was doing laundry alone.

THEN...this very strange couple came in. I'm just going to assume they were married, but that may have not been the case. The woman had a high pitched nasal voice, like the stuffed-up slow-talking kid on "King of the Hill", if you've ever heard him. And she just kept talking. Everything she said she'd say twice, and it was stupid stuff, like "What's over there? Do you think we should use the washers over there? Maybe they'd be cheaper. What's over there? Do you think we should use the washers over there?" And I could hear that the husband was speaking, but I couldn't tell what he was saying.

THEN...my laundry needed to be transferred to the dryers, and I was in the same bank of washers as they were, and boy, what a weird smell. It wasn't BO or smoke or perfume or anything like that. They smelled like a basement. I couldn't quite identify what it was, but it was strong. It didn't seem to vary in strength as I moved past them, so I thought maybe it was just my imagination; maybe the whole laundromat smelled that way, and I just hadn't noticed it before. I have allergies, and often can't smell things. Anyway, yuck.

In the next strip mall over from the laundromat strip mall there is a Subway, and I usually go get some lunch or dinner there while my clothes are drying. I did just that, and as I sat and ate my sandwich (back at the laundromat) I listened to them as they transferred their clothes into the dryers. I'm quite certain I'll be unable to convey the oddness of the conversation. Again, I couldn't really hear the man, but I could hear the woman loud and clear.

"Oh! You almost knocked me over, Dale! You almost made me drop all the quarters! Get out of my way. You need to learn to be more careful, Dale. You need to learn to be more careful. Do these dryers take a dollar? [They're clearly labeled as taking a dollar.] Don't let the clothes touch the floor, Dale. Don't let the clothes touch this dirty, dirty floor. They'll get all dirty. Get out of my way! Don't do it like that Dale! You have to open it or it won't work! You need to calm down, you're just hyper Dale. Hyper. Now let's review which dryers are ours. We have that one down there, and that one up there, and that one down there, and that one over there. We have that one, and is that one ours? and no, that one isn't ours. We have that one over there, and those two down there, and that one's out of order so we're not using that one."

And on, and on, and on. Mind you, they were using four dryers together except for the one that was out of order and one on my side. How hard would it be to remember "the three dryers on our side, and that one"? And I got all my clothes out long before they had to get theirs. They didn't have to remember anything - just take the clothes that are left. I just sat there and knitted (see, some knitting content!) and listened and wrinkled up my nose whenever she walked by. It was not my imagination. It was cat urine. I finally put my finger on it and remembered a childhood friend's basement where the cat litter was. That was the smell. Gross. He finally gave up and went to sit down. He asked her which soda was hers, and she yelled at him, "That one is yours, and the other one is mine! Quit asking me personal questions, Dale!" How is that a personal question?

Anyway, it just seemed like something you'd see on Saturday Night Live or something. Very bizarre. I felt so sorry for the man. To have to live under constant barrage of insults all the while smelling cat urine -- just shoot me now.