Friday, March 20, 2009
Doing Laundry With The Drug Dealers At Hawthorn (Sic) Crossings Strip Mall
Last night, I got my laundry half-finished at the apartment of the neighborhood housing director, Jeff Skrenes, and so I had to haul back a big rubberized canvas bag of stuff that was clean-but-wet. I thought, well, I'll just go to Spin Cycle at Hawthorn (Sic) Crossings strip mall. My plan was that I'd go early in the morning, before the drug dealers awoke from their long slumber, visions of crack fairies dancing in their heads...
I figured if I got to the strip mall first thing in the morning, I wouldn't have to rub elbows with the thugs. Well, no such luck. The thugs have their own form of a work ethic, and they were actually out in force.
I read a discarded newspaper--the story of two North Minneapolis minors who beat a woman to death, and her 10-year-old son--while, outside in the parking lot, drug business was brisk.
At one point, one of the dealers came inside and sat in the corner. A woman who was sweeping the floor at the laundromat came up to him and told him, politely, he'd have to take his business outside. He stood up with a surly look, but walked outside, silently.
Gee, I wish my friend Jeff had a better clothes dryer.
There's a story behind my big rubberized canvas bag, which is so convenient for laundry and--just as importantly--conveys a certain sense of self-worth that you just don't get from hauling your laundry around in a black plastic garbage bag. Every time I see somebody hauling their clothes around in a garbage bag I think, "Does this person have no sense of self-esteem?"
Anyway, here's the story of where I got the bag.
I was working for an owner of "affordable apartments mogul" in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and one day he told me to clean out a storage locker which had been abandoned for, lo, many years. I took the contents of the locker--well, the stuff I didn't want for myself--to the Association For Retarded Citizens thrift store, per my usual practice.
But I kept that big rubberized canvas bag, which originally held ice skates and hockey equipment. The name of the hockey player is actually written inside, in Sharpie marker.
Well, a day or two after we cleaned out the storage locker, somehow the owner of the junk got word and was REALLY UPSET.
He ended up going to the ARC thrift store and, I hear, buying back his own skates, venting his rage on the handicapped. (Which was a lot better than being told his stuff was in a landfill, I think. Waste not, want not)
But I still have the rubberized canvas bag. The owner of the apartment building told me, heck no, I didn't need to give back the bag to that (expletive). Just keep it. So I've had the bag since, like, about 2003.
In the back of my mind, though, I'm always expecting some angry "Fighting Sioux" hockey player to come charging up to me at a laundromat, yelling, "HEY!!! THAT'S MY SKATE BAG!!!!!!"
This minor worry was not on my mind today, however, as I did laundry within sight of drug deals in the parking lot of the Hawthorn (Sic) Crossings strip mall.