I Love Laundromats

I love laundromats. Love them. I love the smell of fresh laundry, the quiet and steady hum of the dryers, the constant productive movement of changing out loads of clothes in the washer, the knowing that all things leave clean. Love it all.

I love the people of laundromats most. They have some stories, those people. I love the teenage girls with babies on their hips and a still-hopeful look in their eyes. I love the middle-aged men with dirty shirts and dirtier hands who look longingly at the dinner provided by a ministry and they haven’t eaten well in awhile so a cheap hotdog tastes mighty good and maybe, just maybe, seconds are allowed. I love the mothers with bellies full from housing babies and shoulders drawn down from working too hard for too little and knowing there just is never enough. I love the wee fellows with faces dirty from dinner and hands dusty from play. I love the little girls who crowd around the table with little brown hands held high so I can paint their nails. I have given a lot of manicures to wee ones in this manner and I often weep after an evening of nail polish and crafts because the privilege of love is so big and good it breaks my heart.

I love laundromats. I love what happens when I enter into a world where I clearly do not belong and I get to love like crazy. Sometimes love is a kind smile and some genuine eye contact. It is amazing how much a human will open up to you when you look at her like she is human and NOT your latest pity project. Sometimes love is a pat on a shoulder, a “Good job!” over a child’s artwork, a moment to kneel on a dirty floor and hear a story or two. Love is life. Life-giving, life-breathing, life-making. I love laundromats. So much life there.

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