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It was a particularly sunny day in New York City, the kind of day where the birds seemed to be singing just for you, sweetly chirping “Come out, dance with us.” It was the kind of day when New York mothers took their babies out for the daily morning job while their husbands sat in corner offices analyzing stocks.
It was the kind of day that should be spent outside, soaking up rays of precious sunlight.
And on this particularly sunny day in New York City, I was stuck in a Laundromat.
It was the kind of Laundromat where the machines spun indefinitely, hypnotizing tired mothers after long days of work, children hanging off their hips. It was the kind of Laundromat where one did not want to be stuck in on a particularly sunny day.
So there I sat in the middle of New York City on a particularly sunny day in a Laundromat, when a strange man walked in, sporting rolled up jeans, an unshaved beard, and a terribly slouched walk.
I wondered why he was in this particularly dreary Laundromat on this particularly sunny day. Maybe he, too, was a struggling college student forced to take advantage of half-priced Tuesdays from nine to ten-thirty.
“Is there any reason you’ve been staring at me?” He asked me coolly, sliding into the seat next to mine.
Instinctively, I defended myself. “Is there anything better to do? It’s a Tuesday in a Laundromat.”
His eyes lit up, realizing he was being challenged. “But the contrary my dear,” he said in a singsong voice. “We are in a magical land of washing monsters. They threaten people with their laundry detergent-spraying eyeballs. Come on, you’ve got to learn to be positive!”
I stared at him blankly. Who was he to decide that I was being negative? I did not even know him. He was in no place to judge my character. I was going to protest, but decided that it would get me nowhere.
“Okay…” I deadpanned, returning to the blank pages of my notebook.
“Maybe,” be began, glancing at my terribly empty notebook, “if you had a little more imagination, you could actually write something for once.”
Offended, I quipped, “How do you even know that? Leave me be.”
He smiled, “Darling, it’s written---or should I say ‘not written’ all over your pretty face.”
Angry, but blushing from the “pretty” comment, I turned to him. “Okay. We are in a magical forest of washing monsters that spray laundry detergent from their eyes. Except they are nice monsters—”
“Who are actually very evil.”
“No, I want them to nice monsters.”
“Boo, you are no fun!” he taunted me.
My heart sped. If there was anything I hated more that being stuck in a Laundromat on a particularly sunny day in New York City was by challenged by a complete stranger in said Laundromat.
“I don’t have to take this,” I said, gathering my things to move. “I don’t even know you.”
He smirked, his eyes lighting up. “You do know me. We’ve met.”
“No,” I said, “we have not.”
“Think hard. We’ve met. I remember you. We met once at that—”
Suddenly my dryer buzzed, startling me. I glanced around, confused. I realized that I had fallen asleep, and my wallet had been stolen.
The washing machines spun on indefinitely.
Ithaca, New York
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