I believe I have delusions of grandeur for my writing. I plan something for my blog. Something simple without too much architecture or planning required. Shouldn’t have to check out any books to peruse or chapters to examine. Just a brief but reading worthy vignette of some sort. Fiction, non-fiction – it doesn’t really matter. Make it a little of both. But alas the idea sprouts brontosaurus size legs and wants to wander my interior landscape, constantly mawing the bits of green interest that hangs everywhere inside my mind. Pretty soon it’s a short story, then a novelette. Then as I expand it out I think I could reach a novella. There’s not much plot there, so a novel seems totally out of reach for the project. But still it started as a possible blog entry. I think maybe the idea covered too much ground. Too many days and the entirety of a whole relationship. You’re probably thinking to yourself, well hell, you could make the entirety of a whole relationship into a novel. What were you thinking? Well for tonight big projects will have to be laid aside and worked on later, when I feel like carving at a bit of glacier. Right now I’m going to write a vignette about Sunday afternoon at the laundry.
It’s early autumn here. That is if you consider late September autumn. I do. There are signs and smells in the air that tell you the oval orbit continues. They’re subtle but they’re their. And the breezes are cooler. That’s good because one whole side of this laundromat is all windows facing south. I tend to enjoy sitting close to the door up against the windows while my cloths spin. In the middle of summer you have to move away from there. The solar rays are too hot. But in September they’re a light glow on the skin. And I sit with my guitar, just a little concert size thing. I will be polite and not call it my banger guitar, but it is something I’m willing to toss around at the laundromat. I can sometimes catch those gentle sunrays off the pick guard and throw light phantoms up onto the wall as I play. I’m just playing a solemn Josh Ritter song I learned lately. A bit of melancholy, somebody dies, something about ‘God being a drunkard for pain’, while watching over this world. Anyway with all the dryers turning and a few washing machines that rattle with the unevenness of their loads during the spin cycle, most people can’t hear me inside the laundromat. I can barely hear myself. But for me my songs become a bit internalized and I don’t need much projection to get me in to that magic space where I’m listening. But also I find when I play my guitar in the laundromat I can look about. I can do a bit more staring at people. I am an innocent bystander who is obviously busy playing his guitar. Nothing to fear from the guitar player. Even if he is taking a once over on the pretty Latina that’s decided to wear her miniskirt on laundry day. How does the line go? ‘Don’t shoot me, I’m just the piano player.’
Even while I navigate through a song I’m enjoying the sites. But I do wonder where else was she planning on going today. Actually the girl isn’t wearing quite a miniskirt. It’s really a dress. But it ends up the thighs a bit. It’s a rather fancy dress with a deep lavender color overlaid with some black lace. She has pretty shoes but no stockings. Strong legs with some muscle, but still feminine lovely. And she’s even made up a bit, some mascara, a touch of lipstick. Large lovely brown cheeks and that beautiful raven Latina hair. Definitely some curl to it. Her boyfriend is here. They’re not just doing some spare cloths. They look to be washing a household worth, though they are pretty young. Maybe a couple’s household worth of cloths. He’s even dressed up a bit. The kind of dress up for a young urban youth. He’s wearing jeans of course, but they’re obviously stylish. They’ve got some big letters in fancy font emblazoned on the rear pocket. He wears a t-shirt with a peculiar pattern on the front. Like something somebody might have tattooed on their backside or if they were a particularly talented tagger, they could drop that on a wall with some spray paint cans. He has a gold chain or two around his neck and a thin beard trimmed especially fine around his jaw. In between verses of the song that I sing I watch the girl bend down lady like to pull cloths out of a low level dryer. Occasionally I can see the dress rise up a bit with her movements, but she is adept at keeping things as modest as she can, even if the dress is a little passed the border of modest. But I’m not complaining. I’m just the guitar player. Actually I’m glad she decided to dress up for laundry day. Probably she dressed up for church and did not change out to do laundry in the afternoon. It doesn’t really matter though to my eyes. I’m increasingly spotting and enjoying the well dressed woman. And the magic of this Latina girl is full enough to erase any worries or preoccupations with the minutia of my life. These days I’m much less preoccupied with thoughts then I use to be. I can even get absorbed into an olive tree if that’s all that is in front of me. But a pretty young woman is all the better. I don’t think a well dressed pretty woman knows how tension releasing and pleasing she can be just there in front of a guy. I ride the bus and some days have to put down the book I’m reading and watch the beautiful people get on board. If I’m especially well positioned I can practically stare, or better put, closely observe the beauty of a woman sitting up near the front of the bus, while not displaying any rudeness at watching.
A character in the song I’m singing is named Romero. That’s a nice Spanish name. Maybe that’s the boyfriend’s name. The name makes me think back to that one young Mexican guy I use to see every few weeks get on a bus line I use to take. He was a young man and dressed in that Mexican cowboy style, like a vaquero all duded up in his finest to walk the plaza on a Saturday night. He wore a wide brimmed felt black hat and brightly patterned cowboy boots. A big shiny buckle all polished up and a western style shirt. Mostly you only see older Mexican men wearing such cloths, and not so sharp. The cowboy hats are usually white as are the shirts, which sometimes struggle to keep the frijoles stuffed belly completely buttoned up. The older Latino, the one with a wife and family has had his share of carne asada and tortillas enough to power a Mexican festival. But this young man was slender and rather beautiful. His skin was immaculate in its dark caramel colored sheen. I’m as heterosexual as they come, but I can spot a beautiful man. At least one as striking as this young man. If I was a Latina, or any woman for that matter, I’d be awfully curious about him. Where was he headed dressed up like that? I like to think his name is Romero. And I’m sure he wasn’t going to meet the fate of the melancholy character in the song I’m singing. He was too finely prepped to charm the world, or some young muchacha at his final destination.
It’s these sights that make living in a border state so enjoyable. And I’m not talking a border state like Minnesota, Washington or New York. It’s a border state where your visit to the laundromat or your ride on the bus is a swirl of a different culture. Beyond all the arguments about immigration, it’s a feast for the eyes to see a different culture living along side you. I have a friend at work that goes to a lot of conferences in different states. When he meets other colleagues and they find out he’s from California they sometimes inquire, “How are you dealing with the Mexican problem?”
“The Mexican problem? I don’t really have a problem. If you have a problem with Mexican maybe you should try a little Beano before you eat a meal. It might help with the gas or whatever problem your having with Mexican food. Anyway we get some truly authentic Mexican food, so it’s made especially well. Very digestible.”
Of course foods not what they’re referring to. But I’m not sure what they imagine it’s like living in Southern California or Arizona. As if someone speaking Spanish in the bus seat in front of you or opening a restaurant that only has the menu in Spanish, is a problem. The food certainly is not a problem. It’s a celebration.
As I fold up my laundry and roll my laundry basket back toward my house I pass the taqueria directly in front of the laundromat. I decide to close out the day with a meal from that taqueria. There are plenty of good Mexican places along Milpas Street, but Taqueria El Buen Gusto, is only a hop, skip and a jump from my house. Carne el pastor is a good meal to close out the weekend. I’d have a tough time joining one of those religions that outlaws pork. And Mexicans know how to spice it up just right, in all its fatty tenderness. That and some frijoles with bowls and bowls of fresh salsa and pico de gayo. Steamy corn tortillas to use as an edible spoon.
I missed the Mexican Independence Day celebrations on Friday. Most Anglos and other ethnicities pay little attention to that day around here. Still I walked by the Sunken Gardens on Friday on the way to a previous engagement and saw the celebration there. A female singer belted out a song about Mexico. Even as I went off on my other concerns this weekend, Mexico wants to remind me how close and how beautiful she is, on this laundromat Sunday.