Most. Disturbing. Post. Ever.

Urgent update to previous post re: my love of laundromats: I am no longer charmed by the gritty quirkiness of public laundromats. Today, as I was leaning on the folding table in the laundromat and writing in my notebook, an adorable little boy came in, walked right up to me and said, “There’s a cock-a-roach on that table.”
At first, although I was a little taken aback by such a comment, I just kind of smiled and said, “Oh, really?” I didn’t really believe him, but then his mother looked at me and said, “Yeah, they were all over that table yesterday. I called the city on this place. The owner makes enough money off of us to take better care of this laundromat.”
Then the little boy proceeded to point out all the baby cock-a-roaches crawling on the wall and table where I was just standing. Again, still somewhat in disbelief, I looked at where he was pointing, and holy bejeezus, there were about six small brownish bugs with long antennae, scooting along the wall. Needless to say, I completely freaked. My whole body started itching as I snatched my laundry basket up and moved as far away from any surface as I could get.
After I got my hysterical body-swatting brush-down under control, a few questions leapt to mind:
1. Why was that woman just here yesterday?
2. Why did she come back if she discovered roaches?
3. Why is she letting her son try to kill baby cock-a-roaches with his toy sword?
4. What am I going to wear tomorrow after I incinerate all my clothes?
I can’t stop itching.
I’ve led a sheltered life, I guess, because the presence or absence of cockroaches has just never factored into my choice of laundromats. Until today, of course. Thinking back, I did have a friend when I was little who had cockroaches in his house. Some mean neighborhood kids called his house the Roach Motel. But I was eight, he had Atari, I didn’t care. Now, much older, wiser, and less enthralled by Donkey Kong, I would rethink my earlier decision to sit for hours on his shag carpeting, eating cold pizza and drinking Coke while fixated on the flashing colors of the TV screen.
I can’t stop itching.
So here I sit, in my car, in the laundromat parking lot, in 85 degree heat, waiting for my clothes to dry so I can run like the wind and never look back. Should I just take my clothes out half-soggy, and let them air dry at my apartment? But what if there are baby roaches somewhere? Maybe the heat will kill them all.
Who am I kidding? Cockroaches outlasted the meteors and ice ages and whatever else really killed the dinosaurs. Surely they just look at a spin through the permanent press dryer cycle as some sort of free spa day.
Sweat is running down my back, and I’m having trouble breathing, but hell if I’m going back in there. Can cockroaches jump? Do they bite? Aren’t they asexual? I’m not sure why I care about that last point, but it just popped into my head.
I can’t stop itching.
Ohmigod – is that a baby cockroach on my leg? Phew, it’s just a freckle. Yeah, nice move, Jenny. “Ohhh… I just loooove laundromats! You meet the neatest people there! It’s a real slice of Americana.”
Yeah, you want to know who you really meet at the laundromat? Cockroaches, that’s who. Cockroaches, thieves, and crazy people.
What if I throw in a few extra dryer sheets? I doubt that Bounce contains DDT, but maybe some sort of chemical reaction will happen that will at least sterilize them so they can’t lay eggs in my underwear.
I can’t stop itching.
Baby cock-a-roaches. I have always thought of myself as insatiably curious, but I honestly could have happily gone the rest of my life without knowing what they looked like.

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