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Lessons from the Laundromat

There I was, hauling our overflowing laundry totes into the Laundromat one Sunday afternoon due to our recently broken washing machine. Would I look ridiculous trying to figure the machines out? What social situations would I encounter?  This momma walked in feeling a little nervous and a lot out of place.

Boy, was I wrong!

What I experienced the next few hours at the Laundromat changed my perspective and left me longing to go back.

Lessons from the Laundromat

Good ‘Ol Fashioned Socialization 

Sure, depending on the location and time of day, you might find some interesting cats looming around the Laundromat. But overall, everyone I encountered was not only friendly, but socially competent, too. You see, I’m one of those people that will intentionally avoid my cell phone usage in order to make eye contact, say hi, or dare I even admit, have a real conversation with a stranger. I was pleased to find a group of people who weren’t afraid of good ‘ol fashioned socialization.

That alone filled my little heart to the brim.

But wait! There’s more…

The Clean Cowboy

Good heavens! The people-watching at the Laundromat was impeccable. As I sat in my little booth with a book in my hands, I couldn’t help but notice a man in front of me attend to his laundry fresh out of the dryer. The minute he strutted out to his pick-up truck to fetch a stack of hangers is when my attention gave way to him. Before I continue, you must understand the type of cowboy I speak of: This wasn’t an old-timer who struggled to maintain control of waistline, but rather, a tall and slender Ladd Drummond type of gentleman.

So naturally, feeling like the Pioneer Woman herself, I casually watched as this cowboy attended to his freshly cleaned Levi’s. Each pair of jeans received the perfect fold, achieving the desired center crease before hanging on the hanger. Next came the plaid button down shirts. Just like the jeans, these, too, were neatly hung on a hanger and given a few button closures to maintain security. I’ll spare the details of his white undershirts, boxer briefs, and socks.

This isn’t a dirty novel and I’m truly more of a lady than a creeper.

Maybe.

Point being, allow people to shock you. Enter into situations with an open mind and be ready to be surprised, even (and especially) by good-looking cowboys folding laundry.

Family Teamwork

My biggest take-away was the surprising teamwork of a family of four: dad, mom, middle school aged boy, and upper elementary aged boy. This family had a system down pat. All four worked together to sort, load washers, and fill with detergent and quarters. They were a well-oiled machine and didn’t waste a lick of time getting this weekly chore accomplished. The best part came after the clothes were coming out of the dryer. The mom and older son worked side-by-side to fold clothes as they conversed, laughed, and truly enjoyed each other’s company. When it came to folding the various sheets, it happened without speaking about the task, but their conversation carried on as normal.

Did you know 13-year-old boys could fold fitted sheets without being given step-by-step directions?

That family taught this “boy mom” more than a thing or two. I left realizing that I had so much to learn. All four of them took on that chore as a team. It wasn’t mom’s job, it wasn’t painstakingly spread throughout the week, or even given attention to each day. For just a few hours each week (I’m assuming), they buckled down to complete the chore as a team and spend quality time together talking, laughing, and teaching lasting life skills their future wives will be eternally grateful for.

Kudos to you, Laundromat family. I saw you, I was surprised by you, and I have learned many, many lessons from you.

The Laundromat was simply the location where my heart learned lessons from unexpected strangers. I hope that you’ll open your eyes and heart to see people who have so much to teach you. The feeling is uplifting, contagious, and may or may not be the reason why I occasionally still go to the Laundromat long after replacing our broken washing machine.


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