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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Silence at the SpeedWash

I am a great fan of Laundromats. Love them. Even though my building has laundry, I prefer to haul my dirty clothes down the street to wash them at the SpeedWash. I adore the little hispanic woman who gaurds it with her Chihuahua. I enjoy random conversations with strangers (If you’re work gives you personal days and you wake up one day, don’t wanna go. Don’t go. That’s why you have ’em.) and running into customers who are becoming friends.

This morning I made myself go to the SpeedWash before work. Look–I’ve done my laundry and I have an hour before I have to be at the shop! I walked in and was greeted by silence. There was one other launderer there, but he hadn’t started his washers yet. On top of the absence of washers or dryers running, was the song Careless Whisper by Wham on the radio. The little old lady insists on playing WLIT, The Light, over the sound system. WLIT does not offend, except that it is light rock and that is sometimes offensive.

Careless Whisper is the song I hate the most of all songs ever written. My twin sister used to torture me by singing, “These two feet have got no rhythm.” It is all centered around a nightmare I had when Wham! was at the top of their game. My brother was listening to PFR, a now defunct station in my home town, and Careless Whisper creeped into Rayne and my shared bedroom. It became the soundtrack of a nightmare where I was chased by green slimy monsters around Fairbanks Park. The Green Monsters would push you into the fishing lake and you would come out a Green Monster and start hunting the uninfected. It was a cycle and eventually I was the only non-monster left in the park. All the while, Wham! is singing about having two feet without rhythm.

Hearing the song would instantly conjure the feeling and the smells I associated with the dream. For at least ten years, it held a power over me that no other song did. Not even the good ones like “More than Words” by Extreme. I thought it had loosened its grip until I walked into the SpeedWash this morning.

One guy, silence of machinery, and Wham! I wondered if there was a Green Monster hiding in the backroom. If this was an omen and I should drop my dirty laundry, run home, and lock the door. Instead I put some quarters into a washer and added some noise. The song would end and the other guy wasn’t going to kill me.

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