Friday, November 10, 2006

For the Love of Parenthesis

Some things in my world are eternally perplexing. Like the guy who runs the laundromat I use for example. I've mentioned him on this site before, like two years ago and I totally thought he'd be dead by now. Sometimes, I walk into the laundromat to find him slumped over in a chair and think, in fact, he may be dead, but nah, it always turns out he was just taking a snooze. He's rail thin, smokes like a chimney and has a cough that is disturbing to say the least. I've mentioned before that I think he lives in the basement of the laundromat. With the rats.

That guy--Al is his name--keeps to himself mostly. He's pleasant enough and he'll help you out when the change machine eats your $20 bill. But there's this other guy, I don't know what the hell his name is, that started working there last year as well. What a freak. He must have some mental problems but it doesn't help that he's a drunk. I always do my laundry while wearing my headphones as a DO NOT SPEAK TO ME message. Al respects the message. The message is lost on this other dude, who I might add smells like he hasn't bathed in a week, but did douse himself with Colt 45. He'll talk just to talk, rattles on about "his owner"--presumably the owner of the laundomat, as last I checked, slavery is illegal. His owner doesn't like people leaving laundry in the machines; his owner paid $100,000 for the building last year (?!); his owner says that there's a new microchip needed for the change machine. WHATEVER.

The worst part is that he tries to touch your laundry. If you're not RIGHT THERE when the machine stops, he starts taking it out for you. I understand that, maybe, if people are waiting to use the machines. But when only one other person besides me is in there, I will freaking cut your hand off at the wrist if I find you handling my undergarments. And he'll almost push you out of the way to get past you--it's not just me either. He does the same thing to Ron, who is usually mild-tempered but comes home from the laundromat saying, "I'm going to freaking murder that guy." I can't really convey what this man is truly like, just suffice it to say that he's inappropriate and annoying as hell.

Honestly, although I'm not particularly friendly, I'm always pretty polite. Even though I don't enjoy speaking with salespeople/staff/strangers and avoid them like the plague, I'm not really ever rude if I do need to speak to them. But this laundry guy? I'm about to lash out at him. And if he ever touches me--sweet Jesus, pray for him. And for me.

Anyway, one of the other great mysteries of the laundromat is who loves the parenthesis and why. Every sign in the place, whether it be hand-written or printed, has LOADS of parenthesis on it. Literally every sentence starts and ends with parenthesis.
So it's a little something like this:

(Steps to doing your laundry:)
(1. Put coins in the slot on the right hand side of the machine.)
(2. Select a cycle)
(3. Put clothes in washer)
(Do not overload the washer)
(4. Add detergent)

(No smoking in this facility.)
(Patrons use washers at their own risk.) (Owner not responsible for damage.)

What the hell?? Why? I mean on printed signs, someone actually added the parethesis with a marker. Maybe it's the English major in me, but those signs are like someone making tiny pinpricks on my soul.

I can't wait to have my own washer and dryer.


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