How easily we forget what is really important in life. How really unimportant the big things seem in the long run. Last week Alex informed me that he had so much laundry that he thought it might be easier to take it all to a laundromat and wash it there. He even asked me, “have you ever been to a laundromat?” to which I replied, “Uh…no.” But then I remembered how I had gone to the laundromat once when I was 10 or 11 in Saugatuck, Michigan while boating in the summer with my dad. I knew enough to be prepared. Alex shopped for laundry detergent while I loaded up on gummy candy, Red Bull, celebrity rag magazines and Sudoku puzzle books. I guess I thought we’d be there for the entire weekend, but as usual, I over pack.
We arrived at the Kwik and Klean and unloaded Alex’s laundry out of the car. After he had divided all of the clothes and put them into their individual machines, he had acquired nine separate loads of wash. And then the fun began.
First I sat outside, while it was still sunny, and read my magazines while talking to my friend on the phone. I noticed the smell of the pink bushes only found in Indiana spring mixed with the fumes of gasoline from the gas station across the street. Alex sat inside and read his book until I was done. Then I took pictures and we sat outside and worked on a puzzle together. I even got into one of the driers. Before long, I could see the sky darken and realized that it was going to pour down rain onto this amazing spring evening. I sat outside and listened to the rain hit the tin roof of the Kwik Klean, drinking my Red Bull…just watching, and listening…and noticing. I don’t think we do enough of that anymore. Alex came outside and rubbed my head. “You’re right, it is going to storm.” He said. And from inside, I could smell the soft smell of the drying laundry.
All in all it took over three hours to complete the laundry. When we drove off, I said, “That was really fun.” I had taken pictures of the graffiti in the bathroom, looked through the children’s books, finished two puzzles, read my magazines, taken thirty pictures of the parking lot and remembered what spring is really all about. What life is really all about for that matter. Alex laughed at my thinking it was fun, but he agreed. Since he accuses me of misquoting things from the past, I’ll only say that for that moment, he agreed it was the small things in life that are important. And I felt really connected to him in that moment.
So then it made me think about all of the simple things I either missed doing or things I had never done before. On our way home that night from going out to some clubs, we passed a midnight basketball game. Alex said, “I think it would be really fun to do something like that. I’m going to get a night kickball game together.” We talked about how it would be fun to start a summer scavenger hunt and what other things we could do instead of our regular routine.
And since then, it’s made me think of all the small things that make me who I am…all of the things I’ve even forgotten myself. And then the next day we drove passed these two girls in the middle of a roundabout, probably both about twelve or thirteen, who were holding up peace signs, shouting to the drivers, “Give Peace a Chance!” I thought, is this 1967? And then I laughed, because it was exactly something I would have done at that age, and something has changed in me. I care a little bit too much and have let the small things go away.
So if you see my standing on the side of the road, bag over my shoulder, giving a peace sign to the drivers…know I’m probably on my way to the laundromat with a late night kickball game to follow…ahhhhhh summer!