The Flood of 2015 hit us hard. We went from staying with friends, to living in a hotel, to moving over a garage. But don’t feel too sorry for us. Our apartment had vaulted ceilings and a view of a pool and landscaped yard. If you had to be displaced, this was the way to go. We were starting to settle into something that resembled a routine, but one thing was missing. I didn’t have a washer or dryer. My host family offered theirs, but they were already doing enough, literally putting a roof over our heads. No way could I ask them for anything else. Even though people were doing everything they could to help, I needed to become more independent.
I decided to go to the laundromat for fluff and fold service. They gave me a ticket for 10:00 PM pickup.
We didn’t exactly fit in at the Saturday night laundromat scene. My daughter had on a Beauty and the Beast pajama top and her glow-in-the-dark bottoms. I had on pink and white seersucker pajamas and Dansko school-teacher clogs.
We gave the lady our tickets. She brought out our clothes in the cute Scout bag I was using as a basket. Everything was neatly folded and some things were on hangars. Maybe it wasn’t so bad to be at the laundromat on a Saturday night. Just as that thought was going through my head, everything changed.
The laundromat lady said I would have to come back the next day because the computer was down. She slid my cute Scout bag across the counter and out of my reach. She took the hanging clothes out of my daughter’s hand. Not cool.
I said something like, “I’m sure we can figure this out. I have my tickets. I don’t need change.” I was trying to be calm, but then it happened. I got called out by Miss Fluff and Fold herself. She got loud and animated and lifted up her index finger in the air. “Mam, you are not listening to me. The computer is done lock up. Do you hear me? It’s done lock up – done lock up.”
The Bon Qui Qui videos played in my head. If my daughter hadn’t been with me, I might have tried to take her.
I smiled, I took a deep breath, and told her we would be back in the morning. I left my cute Scout bag with my clean clothes behind.
We got in the car and didn’t say a word. The dog’s ears were in the extreme anxiety position.
We pulled up to our home-away-from-home, and I asked my daughter if she had clean clothes for church. She nodded yes. For that night, we had everything we needed.
I got in the bed which was really a sofa, but I was OK. I didn’t get my laundry, but we were moving in the direction of normal.
It wasn’t long before a fairy god-father heard about the time I almost got into a fight in the laundromat and delivered a used washer and dryer to our house. Even though we were under construction, they hooked everything up so I could do laundry without getting cut by BonQuiQui’s sister. The washer was old and didn’t match the dryer which was scratched and rusted, but it was a beautiful sight.
The flood was years ago, but I try to hold on to the life lessons that came from that time. I will never, ever complain about laundry. The piles will come, and the piles will go.
But the most important lesson, the lesson I hope I never forget, is not to mess with an angry woman in a laundromat on a Saturday night.
Tammy Davis lives in Columbia, SC. She has a weekly column in several publications. Visit her at www.tammydavisstories.com