but you… was on a loop in my head at the launderette this evening. I don’t really like that song; I never really liked Take That either.
The thing is, or was, or is – I’m not sure – that the ‘you’, that doesn’t seem to change at all, is the launderette. I don’t go to them much, in fact, the last time was the 28th October 2009, so I’m in a good position to notice any drastic (or even minor changes). There aren’t any as far as I can see. As I sat on the thin wooden shelf for bums with the massive tumble driers heating my back, it was as if I was still 14, or 21, or 25, or any other age up to the age I am today. The launderette is the nearest I can get to time travel into the future too – everything changes but you.
The machines look the same as before and they roll round in the same direction as they ever did. I couldn’t say whethere it’s clock or anti though as I don’t pay that much attention – although I should. The smell is timeless and the decor, whatever launderette you find yourself in and wherever that may be, is always that whey-like worn formica yellow, or a wrong blue. There’s no word for the blue, barring wrong. And the word launderette, it’s a womanly word isn’t it? Invented for when washing was women’s work presumably. What would the testosterone-laden version of the word be, I wonder. Two rocks and a river probably. In India, they take your service wash at the launderette down to the ghats, the steps on the river bank. And they suds it and bash it and rinse it, and the children leap in and out of the filthy water, buzzing around the bright saris of the women that wash for a wage. I never saw how they dried it all.
Bunking off school in my teens might involve having a spin in one of those tumble driers, back in the day. A metal cocoon for teenage angst. A few revolutions and a bang on the bonce a great way to put those teenage angsts into perspective. I put my head right in to the drier today, on a mission to rescue clothes at the back of the hot cylindrical void and I wondered if I would still fit into the drum; if I could take a whirl in the drum for old times sake. The thought didn’t last long.