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Laundromat in slow mo


I’m mesmerized by the yellow shirt. It climbs the dryer side wall, pushing for the furthest heights, only to plummet back down to earth with a halted sort of flip. Poor yellow Sisyphus. He’s churned about, caught in a world of underwear and socks that push and pull him like bullies in a school yard. Again he escapes and begins his fruitless climb. But there is no escape – he’ll be dragged back again. His world moves too quickly for escape.

My book rests on my lap, open, but just for appearances. I’m not sure how long I’ve been watching the yellow shirt, but I’m sure it’s too long. The dryer time glows at me, an officious red, more appropriate for a ticking bomb. I stare at the number seven, hoping to see the digital lights morph into six. But their transformation is too quick for me. No matter how hard I stare, I can’t catch them.

People beetle in and out. Fill, transfer, fold, pack. Fill, transfer, fold, pack. It feels like I’m watching a time lapse video, the short choppy steps of fast-forwarded movement buzzing around me. Hospital-like decor, sterile white and pastel, suits the pace. Suddenly conscious of my own movements, I feel slow, sloth-like. Only the music, mellow classical accompanied by the steady hum of the dryers, seems to move with me.  The world screams by  in a blur.

The buzz of a finished dryer jolts me from my hypnosis. My limbs accelerate, I’m in a sudden rush to move.

Hurriedly stuffing my laundry bag, I merge.

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