Only a few hardy souls live here and my neighbors are welcoming but far between. This is a place where monthly trips along narrow winding roads that end at Target and other big box shopping centers for necessities is a custom we all know. Other weekends are spent chopping and stacking wood, trips to do laundry and other chores.
Every other week my daughter and I go to the only laundry mat within 25 miles, hauling the large basket crammed full with three loads that I then shove into the largest front loader. This laundry mat recently opened and is in a concrete block building that used to be the hospital/clinic for this small town of 1500 and the surrounding area. The building had many other purposes through the years and this is the most recent. It is next to a gas station and mini-mart where my daughter and I go to get candy bars and other treats while we watch our clothes spin around in the machines. We like to go on Saturday nights. We don’t have much money and this is our big night out, so we make the most of it.
There is usually no one else there and Bill, the manager who lives in the apartment upstairs, comes by with a large bag of popcorn that he shares with us. Bill and I pass the time chatting about life in this out of the way place. I ask him, How’s it going, Bill, and he responds with some gossip that I probably already know. This is a small town and like all other small towns there are not many secrets here. It’s boring and lonely and any conversation is welcome. I imagine that Bill is desperate for company too and a straight girl and a three year old are the best he’s going to find tonight.