Thursday, February 25, 2010

Literary Adventures At The Laundromat

I have a sad Laundromat story to tell. I made my usual Thursday afternoon excursion to my local Laundromat where I have been a regular, off and on, for years and am on a first-name basis with Linda, the day manager. We're on a Laundromat routine right now because we've had some water issues here at Chez Gauthier that we're too exhausted to deal with. It's far, far easier to just go to the Laundromat, especially if I can get my favorite parking space by the front door.

Okay, well, whenever I go to the Laundromat, I get maybe twenty minutes to read. I always bring a book. I got my washers loaded (I only needed three this week), and I can't find my book. I was ninety percent certain I'd placed it on one of the baskets of laundry. I went out to the car twice to see if it had fallen out... lifted up my coat that I'd left on one of the machines...Nothing.

Gail, I said to myself, you didn't put it in one of the washers, did you? Because if you did, you're toast. Once these things are loaded and locked, it's like liftoff time at the Cape. There's no going back.

I was hopeful that I'd just left the book at home, because I couldn't hear any thumping the way you do when you, say, put a cell phone through the wash. I know that sound all too well.

I spent my twenty minutes of reading time with a four-year-old copy of Bon Appetit (I subscribed to Bon Appetit many years ago--a lot more recipes back then) and a back issue of Vanity Fair that included a fashion layout in which all the models had their mouths open and were staring at something off to one side and up. It's hard to believe anyone thought that was attractive.

I unload my two dark loads, which was pretty uneventful. Then it comes time for the megawasher of whites. First off, I find the two knee supports I thought I'd lost because I couldn't find them in my gear bag this morning when I was in the locker room before my taekwondo class. They must have become tangled up in the dobak I wore Tuesday. Huzzah! But then I find this doughy rectangle that was, indeed, my book. Or, we should say, the remains of my book. Except it wasn't my book. It was a book a family member had loaned my a few years back that I was just getting around to reading.

I was worried the book might be out of print, and I'd be unable to replace it. But you will all be relieved to know that that's already taken care of.

The really interesting part of this story--in the event that you haven't been fascinated enough thus far--is that the cover of the book had totally disappeared. It appears to have dissolved.


Charlotte said...

Oh my gosh, what a sad (and disturbing--viz the cover disolving) story! (I now feel vaugly tempted to take a sample of library book sale rejects and do cover disolving experiments with my boys. In the interest of science, was it, maybe, a WW II book printed on war economy paper? Or was it a more recent paperback?)

Gail Gauthier said...

The copyright page is gone, but I thought it was 1975, which is why I was afraid it was out of print. However, it's not, and I was able to get a 1980s edition.

My husband wondered if the cover isn't jammed in some kind of filter. In which case it will probably make problems. I told Manager Linda my sad story about washing the book, so if they do have problems with it, I'll probably find out next week.