Laundry And Food And Code

Since I had an entire day here in Hawthorne, it was time to do some errands. First item on the list: Find some decent food.

All the snow from yesterday vanished overnight. I hope the plants managed to grab some moisture!

Outside it was cool and only a bit windy. Not what I was expecting for the middle of Nevada.

I made my way to the opposite side of town and drew some cash out of an ATM, then walked into the only real supermarket available: A giant Safeway.

Where I live, Safeway is outclassed by local stores. Here, it's an oasis.

Fresh eggs, seafood, veggies, and guacamole… Pretty amazing, really! Over the next 24 hours, all this food got devoured. Plus, some ice cream:

I wanted just one ice cream bar, but they sold only in packs of six. Of the remaining five, the ice bucket preserved two of them, but ruined he other three. Oh well; they were 50 cents each.

Laundry was up next, but there was a complication: I only had one pair of pants – my cycling sweatpants – and I was wearing them. It’s a small town, but I don’t quite have the guts to just wander about in my underwear while my pants spin in the washing machine. So I needed another pair.

I put “clothing” into Google Maps and got one hit: An army surplus store a few blocks from the motel. I had no idea what I would find there, but I cruised over anyway.

I knocked on the door and a large man with a walking stick opened it.

“Hello there! This is gonna sound really dumb. I’m on a bike tour and I need to do laundry, but I’ve only got these sweatpants. Do you have something like a cheap pair of shorts I could buy?”
“Shorts? I don’t think we have any shorts here. But we do have some pants. Check that shelf over there.”
“Huh. These are all pretty overbuilt for my needs.”
“Well, yeah. Army. You just need a pair of shorts? You can go to the Family Dollar across town. They have a few things.”
“Family Dollar? Alright. I didn’t even know that store existed. Does that mean they’re gonna sell me shorts for a dollar? They must be made out of paper or something.”
“Oh, that name isn’t accurate. They’ll probably cost twelve dollars.”
“Twelve Family Dollars, right?”
“Most expensive kind of dollars.”

We had a good laugh and then I went across town again, feeling like a moron. There on the shelf were some ugly black cotton shorts, for 13 dollars. Only one size was even close to mine: 34 inches. I bought them, thinking I would just suck in my stomach while the laundry ran.

Next stop: Laundromat.

Time to wash my 1 pair of pants.

I fed one of my 20 dollar bills to the change machine and it pooped a small mountain of quarters. Bought some crusty little boxes of detergent, and then locked myself in the bathroom to change into those shorts. They were like a new-fangled hotel: No ballroom. I minced around the building, sticking my filthy greasy sweats into one machine and the rest of my laundry in another, then walked outside and laid myself nearly sideways on one of the picnic tables to wait. After a few seconds I unbuttoned the shorts and took the zipper partway down, then used my shirt as cover. Now I could breathe. 34 inch waist? Hah! I must be up to 38 or 40 now. How depressing.

I practiced my Russian on the phone, then paid a few bills. When the washers stopped I switched immediately back to the sweatpants – I couldn’t wait a minute longer – and threw the rest of the clothes in a dryer. The air outside would take care of the sweats. Rolling them around in a dryer would just bake the remaining grease further in.

I decided to fill out some time by adding air to my tires, and greasing my bike chain. I nabbed some toilet paper from the bathroom and tried to wipe off some grease, but the fibers got pulled into the chain. I was about to give up when a woman walked out of the laundromat with a basket.

“Would you like some paper towels to degrease your chain?”
“If you have some handy, yeah that would be great!”
“I always keep some in my trunk for workin’ on cars. … Here you go.”
“Thanks a lot!”
“Yeah, I’m always workin’ on my cars. I got a truck back at the house; got a leaky spark plug. I’m always cleanin’ something off, you know?”
“Oh, I know exactly what you mean. Thanks again!”

I rode back to the motel and settled in to do some work. Two loads of laundry cost me about five bucks. That left me with $15 in quarters, and there’s no reason to carry that weight to the next town. Better spend it on snacks.

Way too many leftover laundry quarters. Time to buy some road snacks!

I hauled the quarters to the gas station and bought two candy bars and an ice cream sandwich which melted almost completely between the station and the motel room. I’ve been having bad luck with ice cream. Maybe I’ll just stop buying it…

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