I was traveling last year from November 2017-May 2018 on the Dinosaur Time Trek. Since it was a non-union tour my job duty among setting up and breaking down was the laundry. I have been fortunate for the last several years to live in an apartment building with laundry, so the last time I needed to step into a public washing place was 2009. I have been blissfully unaware of that world until December of 2017. What I have found is that laundromats are a incredible view of our nation. Laundromats cut across race, gender and sexual orientation. Class is different as for people who don't need to wash their own clothes, or a own a washer dryer don't have to know this life, per se. In each town I have experienced different scenarios, in D.C. it was like any hair salon on 125th st, there were mainly men selling everything they could whether, it was beauty products, undergarments, small electronics or my favorite. Yes, someone sold bacon in the bag and he only had 3 left by the time he got to us. In Pittsburgh, I suspected I was in a meth lab for the floor was uneven with the floor coming apart, it was completely empty when I entered and it was unclean. I felt too uncomfortable to sit down and at one moment I got into a mini argument with a male washer. I have found that Yelp is not reliable as for every laundry I have searched on that website. It is better to go the laundrymat before 3pm and bring cash. Pods work in every machine so far I have been too and always look for an attendant before washing. In Pittsburgh I lost some quarters in a dryer and there was no one there to help me. Laundry prices range from some of the cheapest in Concord NC and some of the most expensive in Cleveland. The experience of being in laundromats have made me appreciate how each is reflective of the socio-economic realities of their respective communities. The better maintained, usually the healthier the community. I am also surprised by the small wonders you may see, I remember being in one laundromat where a very young, black father listened to 70's soul with his infant who was wrapped within an inch of their life. Clearly, he led a peaceful home because that child was as content as possible. He presented as a single parent with a solid routine. There was a mother who had several children, who appeared to have different fathers . Her children, ranged in ages but all seemed school age but for some reason were not in school that day. They seemed restless and she looked completely overwhelmed. While sitting there I felt I could write the rest of the story and really hoping I was incorrect in my assessment. One of the most unique laundromats was in Minneapolis where I encountered my first hipster laundromat. Complete with self-important attendants with t-shirts with flippant political statements. It was one of the cleanest and well maintained places I visited while on tour. My last city was Columbus and while I was happy to never have to wash for this tour again, it was slightly bittersweet. I will miss being in so many different communities, experiencing a slice of life that you can only get at the local laundromat.
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An Actor/Director sharing her thoughts on creativity in this crazy metropolis, New Yawk Citay.