Friday, May 20, 2011
Friday Afternoon with Igor
I was washing my clothes to day at the laundromat on Piedmont Ave. in Oakland California. I loaded my clothes in the cylinder, added the detergent and two dollars in coins. The coins fell into the slot and made a sound like a xylophone. Coin operated washing machines are really musical if you listen to them carefully.
After I listened to my round metal disks drop into the gears and guts of the washing machine making sounds like a few triangle strikes in an orchestra, I waited for the flood of water into the perforated metal barrel that my clothes were lumped into.
I walked up the avenue to pass time while my clothes spun in the water. I looked into the window of the nail salon five doors up from the laundry. It was kind of dark in there with a row of big cushy chairs in which women were sitting. At the foot of each chair was a big black rectangular basin of water. The women were soaking their bare feet the water, some with pants rolled up to mid calf. I did not want to stare so I decided to move on, but before I did I saw one man in the middle of two corpulent women. He was diminutive in stature, hunched forward with an intensity to his gaze that did not seem to fit in the indolent calm of the nail salon. He grasped at a magazine, and held in his mouth a cigarette holder in which was stuck a long unlighted white cigarette. He leaned back in his chair, but his gazed never relaxed, it was then that I was struck by how much he looked like Igor Stravinsky.