••• Friday, January 21, 2005

Post Prologue:I'm sorry about the blog lag this week. It's been a weird one. And while I've been busy, I've also been obsessively trying to finish a post I started on Tuesday. A post that was meant to be a recap of last week's events and included several vignettes. All stories I really wanted to tell.

Somehow, I got stuck on one story. Thursday. Somehow this story grew from vignette to a short story to a novel. Evidently, when a blog post contains a novel, it can take up to a week to write. And it ain't even all that good. Even though it's all that long.

The novel is about little trip to the laundry mat, where 50 minutes of Downy soft hell, grew into a several day cycle of write-rinse-write-some-more agitation.

Because I've devoted half my life this week to writing and shrinking the story (yes, it was even longer) I'm posting the mutha fucka, regardless of length and quality. So, if you're short on time and/or literary benevolence, you might want to move on.

So, without further adoo, following is the Post Meant for Tuesday, finished just this morning. Friday, right? Well, it's sort of finished, since I haven't performed my usual, pre-publish compulsive rituals and several cycles of post-publish corrections. Did I mention it's long?

Stale Toast Post
In comments I had a request for a recap of The Cakers first Dance/Stumbling class. Well, how can I say no to that? Unfortunately, my post topic lineup functions kind of like a the intestines (you have my permission to take that analogy all the way. Just remember to wipe front to back and wash your hands.) It comes out in the order it went in; the closest to the hole is first in line.

Last Week In Review; Abbreviated. Sort of. Okay. Not Abbreviated. But Dammit if I didn’t Try
Tuesday: My son was in the starting lineup, first time. And I missed it. Evidently he was not prepared for this lovely turn of events and choked. We arrived about 5 minutes into the first quarter and he had already been in and out.

Wednesday: Dryer breaks.

Wednesday night: Cakers wets the bed for the first time since becoming toilet competent.

Thursday: Outside temps drop from 50’s to teens in matter of hours. Momma takes Cakers bedtime soggery to a local laundry mat, across the street from daddy’s office. You know, where the cows used to hang. It's an urban neighborhood, slightly decayed, but on a fast track renewal plan. That's what they say, anyway.

Initially concerned that I'd be fighting the after work laundry crowd, I was relieved to find only one other customer in the place; a woman and her preteen son. I hadn't been here for a couple of years and was sad to see that the place had not been kept up. It stinks of mold and several machines bear "Out of Order" signs.

In a cubby off from the main room, the laundry mat attendant is on the phone, talking/laughing loud. This woman has a pleasant laugh (what some might call infectious, the thought of which makes me wanna rinse my ears with Listerine.) and her voice is a dead ringer for Wanda Sykes, whom I love. But I find the loud, on-the-job phone chatter, rather annoying.

The washing machine I’m loading is just feet away from Wanda's desk, which puts me front and center to her verbal epicenter. By the gist of the convo, I gather that Wanda is speaking to a friend with whom she’s not spoken since Christmas. Further gist from the grist implies that one of these women has had mucho fucko in recent days/weeks/months. Good stuff, too.

After getting my peeload in the washer, I look around for a good place to sit and knit. There are only three chairs in the place, so I choose the one by the door. Even though it’s colder there, the spot provides an excellent position for people watching and elbow room for knitting. With only two other people in the room, however, it looks like the human interest factor will be low. :: How unimaginative of me. ::

“That’s okay,” I think. I can use a little down time. I’ll just get out my Blaze and sit and knit. Round and round.

Several feet away, under his mother’s tutelage from across the room, the boy loads up a machine and kerplunks some coinage. “It won’t start."

From where she stands, the mother recites a washer-malfeasance-quality-assurance checklist, not unlike the drill one might hear at the local Stop-n-Lube. In response to each item from the mental checklist, the boy responds "Yes, maam.” When the drill is over, he says “Can I get some gum? It’s only a quarter.”

His mother says nothing.

Out of view, Wanda Ondaphone lets out a whoop to wake the dead....cows hanging.

Me, I just sit and knit. Round and Round.

Again the boy asks if he can get some gum. For just a quarter. Mom nods toward the cubby and says, "Get her.” After a momentary balk, he shuffles toward the source of the omnivocal debauchery. The Wanda.

I just sit and knit. Round and round.

In the meantime, enter two short guys. Both are wearing t-shirts and Levis and one of them dons a bad-ass pair of cowboy boots, with silver trim, toe to heel. A quick smile reveals a matching set of silver teeth, top to bottom.

The boy shuffles back, with Wanda almost right behind. At the machine, Wanda wiggles and jiggles some things as she puts the young man through the same drill his mother had, just minutes before. As Wanda turns to leave, the boy asks, “Are you getting my money?” To which Wanda snipes “Yeeah I’m getting your money! You think I want your money?!”

After Wanda mutters herself out of view, the mom says to her boy, “You’re just a child. She can’t talk to you like that. All you did is ask for your money. This is Boolshit. We’re leaving.” She snaps open the just loaded machine and begins to unload the still dirty clothes into a black garbage bag.

In the meantime, Boots and Buddy are having an issue with their machine. They’ve loaded it, put in the money, but it won’t run. And they can’t get the door open to get their clothes out and into a different machine (or laundry mat, I’d recommend at this point). They each take a turn wiggling the door, followed by a peek into the window of the front loader. (I’m not sure what they’re looking for in there. Disembodied Bovine Spirit?)

But I just sit and knit. Round and round.

When Wanda returns with the boy’s money, the mom is on her like a bobcat on a 6 pack of Thumbelinas. “He’s just a child….You have no right to speak to him like that….If you have something to say, you talk to me, his mother....This is some kind of Boolshit….”

Evidently, (Not-So-Fonda) Wanda takes no crap from no body.
Evidently, at this fluff-n-mold, the customer is always squat.

Before the mom can finish, Wanda commences to lose her mind. From behind a row of super load washers, she raises her arm over her head and points down on the mother (What the hell is that?) and starts screaming. I don’t even know what she says, because it was some crazy ass shit. Almost instantly, the mom is screaming back, over the washers (but not over Wanda).

Me? I’m just shittin’ sittin’. No knittin’. But The Momma and the Wanda, they go round and round.

As quickly as it started, it stopped. And Wanda goes off to her cubby.

Boots and Buddy, still trying to unlock the secrets of the universe through the window of a front load washing machine, stand up, look at each other and bust out laughing. Nearby, Mom and son don’t appear to notice.

As for me, I just sit and knit. Round and round.
And idly wonder if I pissed my pants.

From his post at the defunct machine, the young man asks his mom if he can get some gum. It’s only a quarter. Mom does not respond.

After a minute or so, Wanda returns to the scene of the crime and gives the boy his refund. She then approaches the mom, to explain what the problem was, with the machine. The mother appears to accept this rear entry apology. She benignly responds to the boring tale by reloading the recently unloaded load.

The boy then joins forces with Boots and Buddy, and takes his turn pounding, wiggling and jiggling the door, followed, of course, by a peek into the window to (or from?) hell.

After Boots applies a steel-toed kick to the appliance, Wanda emerges to see what’s going on. After hearing the tale, she takes her turn at pounding, wiggling and jiggling the door. Then she peeks into the window.

Boots asks for a crowbar, and Wanda quickly obliges. Seeing Wanda return from her cubby carrying a weapon, sends a little chill up my spine. I can't help but wonder if the mother is having a similar thought.

The crowbar is ineffective, as are the post-pry peeks into the abyss; one per person.

Eventually Wanda proclaims that she’s calling the owner and leaves the room.

I sit and knit. Round and round.

Wanda soon returns and announces that she can’t get ahold of anyone and doesn’t know what else to do. Evidently, the last 30 minutes of employment has sucked the life out of what remained of her vocational soul, and she announces to Boots and Bud that they’ll have to come back tomorrow for their clothes. With a silver laced grin, Boots says “No. We stay.”

Buddy plops himself into chair number 2, as a supportive gesture.

With no one currently looking into the front loader, I fight the urge to take a peek. Unlike my co-goofballs, however, I know who I'd be looking for. Ashton Kucher; the only plausible explanation for how the last 45 minutes of my life became Saturday-Night-Live-Meets-Sartean-Existentialism-Meets-Punked

That the serendipitous timing between a broken dryer and the innocent misfiring of a toddler’s bladder could lead me into this tiny slice of hell, was difficult to wrap around my brain.

But I don’t get up and look into the window. I just sit and knit. Round and round.

Enter Wanda, with a phone and the cure. After fussing at the back of the machine, as instructed, she announces to Boots that he should be able to open the door in about two minutes. Two minutes later (I’m only guessing, because there no clocks in hell.) The gates to/from laundry purgatory spring open.

And for just an instant, the entire cast of this laundrodrama, myself included, leans in a little, to sneak a peak into the gaping, no longer black, hole.

No angry, disembodied bovine spirits.
No ancient Chinese secrets.
No Ashton Kucher.

Wanda disappears, but I hear her laughing, somewhere.

The mom returns to her post by the washer, lights a cigarette and gazes out the window at the blizzard stricken, 5 o'clock traffic.

Right next to me, the boy is moving the handle on the ancient Pac-Man game, pretending to play. “Can I get some gum? It’s only a quarter."

Boots and Buddy, having loaded a new machine, head for the bar across the street.

Me? I just sit and knit. Round and round.

Friday: I get to my son's basketball game a little late and see they are losing to one of the worse teams in the league. Down by 20 points. Cam is still in his sweats and ends up sitting the entire first half. At halftime they are down by 24 and Cam hasn't even played. I feel like I'm going to throw up. He's gone from starting the last game to benching. And they're behind.

After the half, Cam goes in and has the half-game of his life. His ass is on fire. In one play, he makes a steal and sets up a shot to a guy who dunks and hangs from the rim. The crowd goes crazy. A few minutes later, Cam makes two baskets, back to back. One is a three pointer. The student section is on it's feet. Yelling my baby's name. He plays the entire 2nd half, minus a brief break. When he took that break, he received a standing ovation. The other team only scored 3 times the second half and we scored lots. We won by several points in the biggest comeback in the high school's history. Wee doggies.

Saturday:The Cakers Dance/Stumbling Class....coming soon.
Epilogue: I'm going to hold off on Stumbling class reports until after tomorrow. This post is too long already* and after tomorrow morning, she'll have attended her second class and maybe I'll have more inspiration (or at least, more material. Bloggers always looking for material. heh.)

Also, coming up, some knitting updates (started a Blaze sleeve!), including coverage of a special delivery all the way from Cal-Ah-FOR-neye-aye!

*I know what you're thinking. That the post wouldn't be nearly so long if I didn't take up so much font space talking about how long the post is.

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