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I always add the quarter

I always add the quarter when the washing machine requests it. It blinks at me, and in goes the coin, making two and a half loads an even three dollars. I’m not sure what the extra quarter does–an extra rinse? An extra spin? I’ve never found out.

Usually I wash on Monday or Tuesday, forgetting the nursery rhyme which goes, Wash on Monday,
Iron on Tuesday, Bake on Wednesday, Brew on Thursday, Churn on Friday, Mend on Saturday, Go to meeting on Sunday. According the website I got this from, the first thing the women did after deboarding the Mayflower was the wash. But what did they brew on Thursday? Cider? Beer? Tea, with their feet up, aprons and caps off?
The laundromat I go to is a relatively quiet one–no pingpong or TV no popcorn. I sometimes pop next door to the bakery during the dryer and grab a cappuccino. Yes, I do. It’s a bit glam, but not as if I were in black evening wear as a friend of mine used to don during her wash day, as all her day clothes were in the machine. I could get dressed up a bit more, because who knows who you will meet? But I slip outside, and grab the capp, check my watch and see I have another half-hour. I go the grocery store, beg some quarter change just in case, and find I’m late anyway. Only on rare occasions is the mean woman there, the one glares because she was just about to dump your clothes out. If you are really lucky, you won’t be holding the capp at this point, looking like a complete airhead. It’s amazing how quickly glam disappears.

spring pops back up in nj

Outside, sun.

Winter still around

It ought to be nearly spring, but we had a sprinkle of snow last night. A bit like confectioner’s sugar over everything, or the fake snow you might see in Christmas dioramas. I bought yellow iris and they are unfolding slowly. So ready for spring. I spent Saturday morning weaving willow branches into the plastic fencing in the backyard. I’d like to get more. My head is full of visions for the small plot of yard back there. The weed-tree took a terrible beating over the winter and needs to be pruned. Right now, several main branches are broken and hanging on, good for neither squirrels or birds, or even me. What I envision: the tree pruned, full of spring and summer leaves, and lots of terra-cotta pots holding plantings of flower and herbs. Maybe something over that fence like honeysuckle or morning glory. Somewhere, roses, jasmine, basil. An umbrella, because the tree has lost its limbs. A small table. Barely enough room to move, but I can imagine reading out there, with chai. The sun is out. The birds are chirping. Is Disney around the corner?

Canopy of Pink Blossoms, photo by Matt Banks

Canopy of Pink Blossoms by Matt Banks

Spring, Almost

“Lighter Later”

My neighbor just came to visit, and reminded me about Daylight Savings Time next Sunday. “It will be lighter later, ” she said.

All day, it has been either stormy or sunny. There are wonderfully dark clouds hovering over the sunset tonight, but in between are the light madonna-blue skies. I wouldn’t mind a thunderstorm, being inside, being that it’s Friday. I worked on my book-in-progress, searching vainly for a plot. For the past few months, my work has been going strong, but where is it leading?

When I was seventeen and in India, studying at a Fine Arts program, I nearly failed our mid-year exam in watercolor. We were to take a word and recreate it on paper using art. By that I mean if I chose the word “Cloud” I had to render the word in letters painted to look like clouds. I chose “Flowers” but somehow I made the startling discovery that by mixing my colors, there were an infinite number of shades and hues to be had. I was having enormous fun, even though some Senior girls came by and said, “all very good, but you need to finish.” Finally, my teacher came by and said I had better start using what was already on my palette, repeating colors, as I would not be able to finish in time. My pride hurt, I became indifferent, slopping colors quickly, so the whole effort looked bipolar. I think I passed.

Returning to North America, I went back to being an English major.

My friend Di had a great slogan once: “We May Be Late But We Get It Done Right.”

My novel is ten years over due. I think that teacher was right, though. I need to use what is on my palette. Hopefully, it will get done right.

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