Monday, January 26, 2009

The Brilliance of An Ordinary Evening

After I left work today I ran a few errands (bank, post office, tax preparer) and then swung home and went back to work virtually for another pair of hours, working on some data research for a customer. I was planning on doing laundry at the apartment, but other people apparently had the same plan.

We have four washers and four dryers in our complex (in two small laundry rooms, one on each end of the complex). Every once in a great while you find two open together, but usually, like tonight, the opportunity arises for one machine at a time. For light loads and incidental laundry, that if fine - but I had four loads I wanted to do tonight. So, I had the choice - I could do them here, in succession, taking all evening, or I could head out to the laundromat.

Now, I happen to like laundromats - so it was an easy decision for me. I packed up the baskets and headed out. I go to the laundromat in Westgate West, across for Bikram Yoga and the California Fencing Academy and just around the corner from Orchard Supply Hardware. With the exception of a woman who left as I was arising, I had the place to myself.

Four loads of laundry in at the same time (dress shirts, dress pants, sweaters, and blue jeans) - then 24 minutes to kill. I walked around the corner to OSH and picked up some more detergent (Tide Free) and some Bounce sheets. I got a bottle of Hi C Orange Soda and sat on a bench outside of the laundromat until the timer in my iPhone went off, then I went back inside and moved everything over to the driers.

36 minutes. I walked over to Boston Market and had the meatloaf dinner, with mashed potatoes and the squash stuffing, with a small spice cupcake and a glass of ice tea. The meal came with "southern style cornbread". I wasn't sure what made it southern style, because it was basically just cornbread. After dinner, I had eight minutes to kill, so I walked the long way back to the laundromat.

It was (and still is) a beautiful California evening. The sky was a brilliant shade of blue and crystal clear. The sun was a rich warm gold. There was a slight breeze, cool to the skin, that cleared all of the particulates of urban smog from the air. Each breath of air was refreshing. I walked past the California Fencing Academy (no class, just a bunch of kids running around inside and parents sitting on benchs, probably waiting for class to start) and Bikram Yoga (which did have a class going on, but they appeared to be in the resting part of yoga - they were all just lying there staring up at the ceiling).

I timed it perfectly - walking into the laundromat just as the timer went off. I spent the next thirty minutes carefully hanging shirts (ten), pants (six), blue jeans (3) and sweaters (3). The sweaters were not quite dry, so they are not here in the house, sitting on the back of the couch, finishing the drying process.

As was was walking through Westgate West I happened to glance up at the green expanse of the Santa Cruz Mountains. They looked lush and beautiful, flush and green for the preceding weeks rain. There is a trail that runs from the summit of the Santa Cruz Mountains, near Castle Rock Park, all the way down the southern slope to the ocean. It is a full days hike - I thought about that trail. I think I will hike it here in the spring, once we get more consistent good weather. Right now, I am sure, from the rain parts of the trail are soft and mushy and treacherous.

I was loading my car when a car pulled up, drove past me, and then backed up. There were two young women in the car. The driver rolled down the window and asked where Bikram Yoga was. (If they had looked out the other window they would have seen the big white sign and all the people inside, now doing yoga positions.) In a playful mood, I really had to resist the temptation to give them very involved directions that would have sent them all the way through the Westgate West complex in a giant circle and brought them back to right where they were.

Instead, I just smiled and told them to look to their right. Sometimes I am...benevolent. I am feeling benevolent tonight. I am in a good mood. It is a gracious, lush, beautiful California night. I have a closet full of fresh clothes. I have a fresh sweater for tomorrow. I seem to have successfully shaken the sluggishness of the morning in favor of the brilliance of the evening.

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