Friday, May 20, 2011

Early Friday Morning in Williamsburg: Breakfast at Metro Community Laundromat

It's early morning in our stretch of Williamsburg. Our next-door neighbors have decorated their stoop with the plants that are its only users; they're pretty and discourage random sitters.

On Lorimer Street, kids in charter school polo shirts are heading out of the subway with their backpacks to begin their day while older people and some parents with littler kids head down to the L train. At San Marco Pizzeria, the espresso is already brewed, the regulars starting to gather out front.

Around the corner on Metropolitan Avenue, the Asian bottle ladies are sorting and gathering their glass.

We're headed to Metro Community Laundromat with our dirty clothes, towels and sheets,

trying to take advantage of the rare sunny break in this week's endless rain.

We've got our New York Times -- the early-bird thieves who were grabbing it from our stoop all winter seem to have lost interest in the news -- and homemade iced tea in a Snapple bottle and a plastic container of multigrain cereal from Trader Joe's with half a cup of skim milk poured on it (yes, we eat the stuff without cooking it) to enjoy after we've put our clothes in the washing machine.

Free reading material -- here, the Williamsburg Courier, Greenpoint Star and Metro -- sits on the counter.

We're alone, except for a few others and the Chinese woman by the booth. Her friendly gray-haired husband, if it is her husband, or maybe brother or no relation at all, isn't around yet.

An almost-empty laundromat

is as peaceful as a church half an hour before services.

Drying is always more fun, we think.

Laundry is our favorite household task, the only one we're good at. Our dad, who didn't learn how to do laundry until he was in his late 70s, after our mom got Alzheimer's, is an expert now. Many men are.

The laundromat that never sleeps provides some great benches outside for the smokers, the readers, and sometimes just passersby in great weather like this morning.

Across the street someone's getting Crest Hardware ready for the day's business.

A lone hipster and somebody's abuela enter with bundles of stuff that will come out cleaner. Later on there are others, including as we fold, this husband and wife doing five loads as they share a cup of coffee and quiet talk in Spanish.

There's no other reaction to a morning like this but feeling grateful to be alive in a time of fabric softeners.

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