Monday, October 16, 2006

Mimi Morphs ~ Into Suds

What happens when a preppy pencil-skirt infiltrates the local laundromat armed with Milani boots, brown leggings and a Lisa Frank notebook?

Trouble, that's what.
I didn't mean to make her mad. Really I didn't.

I should have known better than to attempt a morph in my own hometown. Thank goodness my finely leaded sharpie attracted less attention than those 3 inch heels or I'd be a goner.

All washed up for sure.

But I didn't care. I'd been planning this escapade for weeks. My first Mimi Morphs experiment had literally fallen in my lap with my dad's illness. This had taken some work and forethought.



James Bond by my side.

It was perfect.

Click - clump - click - clump past the smiling mirrors of tumbling clothes (which, by the way, are excellent for touching up your makeup) counting.......1 washing machine, 2 washing machines, 3 washing machines on and on I trudged across the dirty tile floor strewn with cigarette butts and lost pacifiers. One little, two little, three little dryers....five little, six little seven little.....uh.....uh....the boots have come to a screeching slide... little children I taught in vacation church school last summer.


Trapped and nowhere to go but down the drain.

I'd carefully thought out this caper for some time. I'd scouted out the local suds parlor looking for obvious angles and riveting story ideas. The filthy latrine had been inspected by yes, yours truly. I knew every machine by name. Which vending slots worked and which ones jammed. I'd even translated the multilingual profanity off the wall and into my writer's psyche. Ambiance. The stage had been set. All I needed to do was make my entrance.

Giggles. Tiny faces staring at leather covered knees - the likes of which never saw the church altar last summer I'll tell ya. Today, the Sunday school capers have turned sleazy and downright bizarre.

"Is that you, Ms. Mimi? Aren't you......"

What are you gonna say to seven grimy faces tugging on your pencil and your pencil skirt at the same time? 'Listen you little Rug rats, let go of my legs and forget all those proverbs about honesty we learned and forget you ever saw me. You'll get extra lemonade next year and lots more chocolate. Just skedaddle! I'm on a mission here, can't you see that??'

"You got any bubble gum?"

This was not going to be an easy.

My second real Mimi Morphs experiment and busted.

Right off the bat. By munchkins no less. 
"Not today, Junior. Now, where's your mother?"You got any candy?"
"No, Junior.""Do you want us to help you count?"
"No! Junior!"
"Okay, Miss Mimi," he said with a sad little face, "we're gonna go play now." And off he scampered into a pile of crumpled clothes with siblings in tow. Senora Martinez popped her head out from behind a giant washer that was noisily dancing in the aisle, scolded her crew for bothering me and continued to fold.

Thank goodness she didn't speak much English or I'd have some 'splaining to do.

Whew. That was a close one.

Mental note for later - next time bring a backup plan in case of recognition or at least a few Snickers bars.

Now, on with the plan.I continued with my counting and pretended to inspect the machines. Jotting things down in my notebook and looking very official. When I thought I'd caused all the confusion I possibly could, I decided to make my move.

"Excuse me, ma'am," I said with the bubbliest voice I could find. "But do you mind if I watch your clothes?"

"Uh...well....I......I don't have them ready wanna wash my clothes?"
"No, ma'am. I just want to watch them.""Well, go ahead," she smiled "they're all yours."

Making mental note - Be prepared next time in case folks are agreeable.
"You mean it's OK if I watch your clothes?""SURE!"

So, I sat down in front of the washer and well...watched.

She watched me watch.

I watched some more.

I jotted down notes. She whistled and folded.

When the cycle was done I decided to give it another spin.

"Do you mind if ask you a few questions? See, I'm doing a class project and I need to ask you a few things about your laundry."

Folding stops. Spin cycles halt all over the building.

"Here's my first question. We're trying to determine if white clothes tumble faster than dark ones. "

Do you have an opinion on that?"

"I'd say dark clothes tumble faster."
"Really?" I was so excited at this revelation. "And why is that? Can you tell me why?"
"There are more chemicals in colored clothes. It's the chemicals. That's what makes 'em spin faster."

"I never thought of it that way before. Thanks!"More jotting. Pencil chewing. Scribble. Scribble.

"Now, tell me.. " leaning in and looking very concerned, "do you ever put flammable clothes in the washing machine?"
"Sure, don't you?"

"Well...I...I don't think so.....What kind of clothes are flammable?""Pajamas!"

"Pajamas are flammable. They have tags that say 'flammable'".....head is nodding, ponytail is bobbing (hers, not mine; mine is spinning)..."I know you wash your PJ's, too, right?"

What does she mean do I wash my pj's?! Of course I wash my pj's! (Mental note: Don't ask questions that might lead to embarrassing conversation.)

She waited. I was speechless.
And then with deadpan seriousness she replied, "You must send your pajamas to the dry cleaners."

"Only if they're flammable, ma'am."
I turned away. It was time to find another happy scullery dweller. I was beginning to wonder if my experiment would pan out after all. Would people actually hear what I really asked? Or would they hear me correctly and try to answer anyway? Could I find one person who would call my bluff? Just one. That's all I needed to leave this den of bubbles and go home where my aching boots belonged.
Senorita in the corner reading a newspaper and waiting for the last ten minutes of dry time to expire.

"Do you mind if I watch your clothes?"
Before I could say 'I'm not immigration' en Espanol, she took her basket, books, purse and moved across the room.

"Do you mind if I watch your clothes?"
Judging from the look this middle-aged woman threw my way I'd be willing to bet she put a real live curse on my pj's.

Moving on.
......"Do you mind...." Wait. Why mess with perfection? I decided to give scientific pajama-mama one more chance.
"These professors are really asking a lot. Can you believe these questions? I'm sorry, but do you mind answering one more?"

Did I sense a tad of suspicion in her reply? Would she unmask the pencil- skirt?

Here goes.

"Do you use white or black bleach on your white fabrics?" Her answer?

"I like to use alternative bleach."
Rats and double rats! That was not supposed to happen.
Then she led me to the detergent dispenser and gave me a mini lecture on Tide II and every brand of fabric softener known to happy laundry people.
I couldn't take anymore.
It was time to go home.
This morph was half-baked.
I headed for the door but stopped dead in my tracks, mesmerized by four large dryers playing tumblelina. Round and round. I had to sit down and watch. No one would mind; would they?
Towels mixed with jeans and lime greens with pinks, brassieres kept their perky shapes and shoestrings tangled and played tag. It was hypnotic and beautiful and.........and........
"Excuse me?"

I looked up. It was pajama girl and she was staring at my open notebook. Full of doodles.
"What kind of class did you say you were taking?"

"Uh....well......" still hypnotized by the clothes, "It's kind of a private project."
Making mental note into microphone hidden in end of eraser. (Not really but what's a good caper without a hidden microphone?) I can't believe I just said that.
You've never see a woman gather up her children so fast in all your life. "Can I go to the bathroom mama?"
"Mama! why is she staring at our clothes?"

"Shhhh....just sit here and don't move. You can wait til you get home."
Reaching for my imaginary pen mic one more time, I turned to face away from a very angry mother hen who wanted my soapy scalp. There! In the windowsill. A place to hide. I reached for a little pamphlet entitled "Blood." (no, wrong one....don't give her any ideas), then hurriedly opened the tiny book titled "The End of the World"

(so appropriate) and buried my face in the Gospel for a good long while. Serves me right.

Lying to children.
Wondering how I would ever get out of there without appearing too eager, I nonchalantly finished the tract, placed it back in the windowsill.....when something in the glass reflection caught my keen reporter's eye.

Making mental note: Always remove ID badge before leaving work.
Can anyone say unemployment?

Don't forget
November 7, 2006
Click here to get your PEACE GLOBE


gem said...

You're very brave, mims. Someone might shoot you if they caught you goofin on them up in these parts. Yes, I agree, there's a feng shui associated with watching clothes go around in a dryer with a glass front and the sound they make.

Anonymous said...

BWAHAHAHA! Queen Mimi, you have outdone yourself this time. This is simply HILARIOUS! I was laughing all the while I was reading it.

Can you morph everyday...please? :p

Mimi Lenox said...

Hi Irene! How are things in the love zone? Glad to make you laugh. You comment made my day.

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