I was out at a woman’s house looking at a laundry nook renovation (the laundry nook was built in the 70’s when washing machines were 2” smaller, the new washing machine wouldn’t fit), and she was anxious to get it done because she currently had to go to the laundromat. I started thinking, “I used to go to the laundromat, it wasn’t that bad.”

Except for a couple times.

When I bought my first house it didn’t come with a washer and dryer and I was okay with that, I was single, the laundromat was just a couple blocks away, and, most importantly, I could get all my laundry done in one shot.  Five washers, three dryers, done.

After awhile I got quite complacent. I’d just toss my clothes in the washing machines, split for awhile, come back, throw them in the dryers, split again, and come back to toasty warm clothes.

So one Sunday afternoon I did that and forgot that I’d played cards the night before and had a wad of bills in my pocket, like hundreds of dollars. I washed the pants, left, threw them in the dryer, left, and when I returned the money had exited the pants pocket and was spinning around like one of those drums Bozo drew names out of.

As it so happened, that particular day was “Migrant Day.” A lot of times on Sundays the migrant workers would come in from the fields to do laundry and I mean they ALL came, the entire family times seven.  I walk in and they’re kind of gathered around my dryer looking like they suspected a sting operation; there’s hundreds of dollars spinning around with no apparent owner.  When I entered the building I
didn’t know why they were interested in my laundry so I walked over and saw what was going on, and I gotta say it got a wee bit uncomfortable. But hey, I’m typing this so obviously I made it out in one piece.

But that can’t hold a bottle of unscented Wisk to the time Manson tried to kill me.

There was this guy I’d see walking around town and he looked like Charles Manson except stockier, like if Manson and the Tasmanian Devil had a kid. He’d be walking down the sidewalk yelling at someone not visible to the naked eye and I’d think I was glad I was in a car.
My first episode with the guy occurred at Meijer’s. I was in the Macaroni and Cheese aisle and he came running up to me. He was holding a bottle of Palmolive and he stated that a spider had bitten his eyeball and would I please squirt some dishwashing liquid DIRECTLY INTO HIS EYE to, ya know, get rid of the spider venom. Except he didn’t say it exactly like that, he had a slightly more manic tone. I did a quick cost/benefit analysis, left my cart, and ran like a skunk in the dark.

So a while later I go into the laundromat and who should be standing there folding his clothes but the Tasmanian Manson. I doubted he remembered the spider-eye-dishwashing liquid incident but I may have been wrong because he immediately started screaming in my face, “YOU CAN BUY MY HOUSE FOR A NICKEL!!!” I tried to juke around him but he countered my every move all the while screaming “YOU CAN BUY MY HOUSE FOR A NICKEL!!!” Repeatedly.

To make matters more interesting I had a friend with me, a guy named Chuck, but he decided to stay in the car while I ran in and picked up my clean clothes.  So I’m waving my arms to get Chuck to come in and save me, Manson is between me and the door, and Chuck is sitting in the front seat looking down at a crossword puzzle oblivious to the fact I was about to be dismembered.

The odd part was the place wasn’t empty but NOBODY acknowledged what was going on. They sat there reading magazines and swatting their children as if maniacs offering to sell their house for a nickel was quite commonplace.

Eventually, as in way longer than it should have taken, a woman came over and led him away. Apparently he lived in a group home with all the other people in the laundromat that day and the lady who came over was his nurse.  I grabbed my stuff and went back to my car where I yelled at Chuck for not coming to my aid even though he had no idea some maniac inside had just tried to ... fold me.

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