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Is There Any Place as Scary as a Laundry Mat?

I love Rock Music. I cannot lie. From Hendrix to Winwood, these guys and girls (like Grace Slick) are my heroes.

What Happens in a Laundry Mat.

I Would Love to Tell You

that the laundry mat in my hometown is the best business on the block, but if I did that, I would be Hubpages’ biggest liar. Our laundry mat is far from a booming-business, but the business does some business, I won’t lie. In fact, this laundry mat has been a part of my Hamilton, Ala., scene since 1968 maybe earlier. We have the same laundry mat still fighting to tread water in 2019 with the current owners. The truth is, there has been over seven different owners. That should tell you something.

Let me get the ugly imaginations away from you. I can tell you, NO, there is not a Secret Call-Girl business that operates between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., perfect hours for attractive ladies who can handle these late hours. NO, there is not an organized crime nest inside our laundry mat. I can tell you why. The place is just too dull and dingy to afford any crime boss who loves a fancy office. NO, there is not an illegal gambling place or cock-fighting ring that operates without the authorities being able to nab them. It’s just a shabby laundry mat and that is all I can say that this laundry mat is much of an icon in my hometown.

I have no cute caption.

I have no cute caption.

Laundry Mats Cropped Up

in the 1950s and they grew as fast as a range war because they performed one task: they took the thousands of housewives (not a disrespectful noun) a lot of back-breaking work by taking their laundry to the nearest laundry mat and sat down and relaxed with a magazine while their clothing was being washed. The ladies got up and tossed their clothing inside a big dryer and in about 45-minutes and one buck spent, the women were whistling as they drove home.

Not all laundry mats made a mark in American Business. When as many as five laundry mats tried to compete in one small town, the percentage of at least three of the businesses closing was very high—a true case of “only the strong survive.” Another feature of the new laundry mats was the women who used these businesses had to haul their own laundry detergent and use it to wash and dry their clothing. But when the laundry mats began to sell washing powders and clothing softener, these sharp-thinking literally had it made.

Soon, these same ladies who were first to keep their town’s laundry mats surging with business, got to make friends with the other women who sat and talked the time away while they waited for their clothing to be ready. So you can see that the architects of the laundry mats had more on the ball than just providing a washing machine and dryer to help families keep clean clothing on their backs.

If I can just crawl out another foot, I will be in New York City!

If I can just crawl out another foot, I will be in New York City!

But Soon, Most of

the laundry mats closed for one reason or the other. Competition from other laundry mats would be my guess as the number one reason for shutting-down. Plus, the retail prices of washer and dryers went down enough that a man and a woman could shop for their own machines that they could use at home instead of going to the laundry mat which I happen to about our local laundry mat having a rash of burglaries and vandalism by mostly the young punks who were unemployed or dropped-out of schools. It kept the police at work and when these hoodlums were apprehended, over 80% of them got suspended sentences or did a few hours of community service and that told the authorities that those who rob and destroy laundry mats were not even considered “professional criminals.”

The sensible move that the prosperous laundry mat owners made was closing the doors at a convenient time. Our laundry mat opens from 6 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m., so the owners felt like that these hours were plenty enough for people to get their washing finished before the hour was too late. The move did work, but not long ago, a lot of robberies and vandalism continued to occur while our local police did arrest a lot of them, and I think too that when the entire crowd of young thugs saw that the authorities meant business, the robbing and vandalism ceased.

What were the robbers after? The change that was in the washing and drying machines that the last owner did not collect until early the next morning, so this laundry mat was a “sitting duck” that was just waiting for some criminal to run in and take what money was available. Today, the statistics of our only laundry mat is still struggling to stay in business and the best thing is that there are no robbing or vandalism taking place today.

Stephen King would live and work in this place.

Stephen King would live and work in this place.

But With All of The Background

about laundry mats being told as near truthful as I can, I want to let you know about the other side of laundry mats. Right off the bat, a laundry mat that is open, but with no customers is one place that I will not walk through. The same can be said about me wanting to walk through a funeral home or police station. I guess that I am, as the old people once said, skiddish, afraid of what could happen in one of these places.

I will not watch any film on any network that deals with the Cults, Macabre, Drug-dealing, or Documentaries about ghosts or horror. Do I believe in ghosts? No, but I will respect them just the same. And I forgot to tell you that when I was a kid, there were these men who loved to talk to my dad ever so often about what was going on in our town and neighborhood. One story was classic. These two guys, said for the truth, that they knew of one guy who they dared to walk inside a cemetery by himself and this guy said NO! His reasoning was, I will respect the dead in daylight, but at night, I could be trampling on their memories.

A wise answer.

I will say that if I were to walk inside a vacant laundry mat at dark and suddenly hear people (who aren’t there) talking up a storm, what would you do, stay put or say something back to them? Do you get what I am saying? The absolute worst thing that I could imagine happening to me would be at that same deserted laundry mat at night and see both glass doors at each of the two exit’s slam shut and no one pushing them. Now, what you do understand why I despise going to empty laundry mats?

There is Something

about deserted laundry mats. I know. I had to drive to our laundry mat a few years ago and check to see if my wife had left her billfold at the laundry mat a few hours back, so I parked, got a deep breath and slowly opened the door and seeing that the place was empty, I ran to where she said that she was folding the dried clothes and NO, I did not find her billfold, but it was with her wrapped-up with the other dried clothes. Still, walking inside a vacant laundry mat gives me the creeps like all of the other things that I mentioned in the above paragraph.

Two more places that you could not pay me $40-bucks to visit and that would be vacant school houses and hospitals. I can give you the reason why: when I did watch those documentaries on TV, the producers were filming what was going on at these vacant places and the very minute the camera crew and producer walked inside the school house, they heard a gunshot and the sound of someone whistling. But these strong-minded documentary producers stayed until it was time to go. When their film was being edited, the sound of gunfire and falling lumber was heard very clearly. But upon investigation, no other people could be found with the documentary workers.

The TV network who showed these documentaries broadcast that the next week, they would show What Happens Inside a Deserted Hospital, and with that I made-up my mind to change my viewing subjects from documentaries like these to a good old-fashioned western or Three Stooges film.

Now I am sure that we are a civilized folk in America and that Hollywood makes bales of money from fictitious horror films, so why am I, and a lot of other people, afraid of going to some places that are deserted? Maybe we need to visit these places in daytime. Reckon?

Or just stay clear of them completely.

July 28, 2019_______________________________________________________


So quiet. So lonely.

So quiet. So lonely.

© 2019 Kenneth Avery