Sandra Main likes to arrive at the laundromat at 7:05 a.m. She could come for when it opens at seven, but then the owner would be there opening up the place. By showing up five minutes later, she doesn’t have to see him. With any luck, she won’t have to encounter anyone by the time her laundry’s done. The last thing she wants is for people to see her as the type who hangs out in laundromats.
Poor people hang out at laundromats. People who can’t afford their own house or cars, let alone a proper washer and dryer. At least that’s how her rich classmates made her feel while she was growing up.
She had often times wished that she had never won that scholarship to Hughes Academy. Every year, her hometown’s most exclusive private school would award a full scholarship to an economically disadvantaged student. It was to give them opportunities a regular public school environment never could, they said. All it did, in her mind anyway, was remind her of where she came come and how much she didn’t belong in the land of milk and honey. But her parents were so proud to send her there, so she continued to study.
University followed – not an Ivy League school, but one that was good enough to get her a good enough job. The job paid for a miniscule one bedroom condo with a tiny, stackable in-unit washer and dryer. For the big jobs, such as her comforter, mattress cover and pillows, she had to no choice but to use the commercial size models at the laundromat.
Every now and then another early riser will arrive at the same time, and once in awhile they will ask Sandra how long the machines take.
“I’m not sure,” she always lies. “This is my first time here. My machines at home just broke. You’d think for the money I paid for them, they should last forever. High efficiency my foot, but what are you going to do?”
She always dresses in her finest work outfit when she’s there, too. The better you look, she reasons, the more likely it is people will think you are the last person who belongs in a Laundromat.