This Year’s Laundry

As I write this, I’m watching Metropolitan Avenue through the big windows at the laundromat, which is arguably one of the bleakest places you can be, especially on a sleety Sunday evening in January. It’s a bleakness that doesn’t usually bother me, even though at a certain age going to the laundromat is an exercise in self-reckoning. I’m cheered by the communal nature of everyone’s resignation –the kids pushing each other in baskets, the mothers and fathers chattering as they fold, the millennials who appear shocked they’re washing their own clothes, the aging artists gritting their teeth as they measure out detergent. Sometimes I talk with others; as recently as last month I went on a few dates with a man I met there. Tonight I’m just annoyed–annoyed that at this ripe old age I don’t have my own washer and dryer, annoyed by the kids’ shrieking, annoying by the televisions blaring in the background, annoyed by the chemical smells hanging in the too-damp air. I think my annoyance stems from the fact that I’m at the tail end of my personal year–my birthday is in less than 48 hours–and I’m indulging in a rare dissatisfaction. I truly believe gratitude is the source of all grace and that we always have more than we realize, but tonight I need this dissatisfaction. It fills my sails with the wind to propel forward; it fills me with a hunger I need to sate; it fills my heart with the knowledge it is not yet full. For I recognize the challenge of this new year: I’m at my life’s midpoint, if I’m lucky, and there’s so much more I wish to share.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy