icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle


Laundry Room Conversations

I went to the basement in my white-brick 1914 landmarked building with its old rusty pipes and three elevators that was once upon a time luxurious. Now it is run down and in need of repair—workers on the roof, workers repointing bricks—which I have already written about here. But it’s been quiet this week and I have been able to get back to the revision of my novel without needing to escape to other writing spaces (I have two) and this has been bliss. Thus, a moment to answer emails from students and to write a blog entry about a laundry room conversation.

I rarely meet anyone in the laundry room as I go there in off hours for my own convenience and also as an act of altruism. Those with 9-5 jobs fill the machines over the weekend. And I take my time, chat to Cleopatra, the old gray in-house cat with yellow eyes, browse the shelves of books people have donated, most of which are old and dusty and not to be touched or brought back into the apartment for fear of cockroaches and flying water bugs, most delicious as they are squished. (My husband saved me from one last night.)

I wasn’t alone yesterday, Bill was there, and I noticed—as he was putting his wet clothes into a dryer—that there was a book at the bottom of his cart and that it was a Kingsolver. So I asked, “Do you like her work?” And he said, “Yes, very much.” So we began to chat about her and her work, which led to other things, of course, about doing the laundry, for example, and the warm weather, and the elevator culture in the building, which is odd—people don’t talk much to each other. In fact, Bill and I had talked a bit in the elevator (I have 14 floors to descend, he has 13), but not all that much in the two years I have been here. And I thought to myself, how wonderful books are—in and of themselves—but also as entrée to shared experience and deep conversation.

Be the first to comment