Love and Laundromats in Los Angeles
While on a zoom call the other night I heard something from a fellow mum and friend that really resonated with. So much so that it prompted me to get a move on with this LA story that’s been sitting in my head for ages. Her words last night reminded me and for that I’m so thankful.
“Do you guys remember a time when you were having a special moment, it could’ve been with friends or by yourself somewhere and you actually knew at that moment that it was special?”
And I thought to myself…YES. Because often we look back at a moment fondly and reminisce on how much fun we had, or what a significant moment it was in hindsight, but how many times do we actually acknowledge that fact while it’s happening?
When thinking of my own moments, of course the obvious ones come to mind, like meeting my husband and having my children but often it’s the seemingly insignificant ones that have the most impact.
A few years ago the family and I went to Los Angeles and found ourselves staying at The Roosevelt Hotel on Sunset Boulevard. Smack bang in Hollyweird as they call it. The Chinese theatre was across the road and the footpaths were littered with wannabe superheroes in homemade costumes smelling of beer at 9:00am.
The Hollywood sign was visible if you stood up on tippy toes and craned your head to the right. The Scientology building had prime position thanks to the millions of celebrity dollars it had been fed. Tourists eagerly waited to board the Celebrity Homes Tour Bus hoping to catch a glimpse of the gates of some B grade celebrity’s house in the hills.
Familiarity was all around me. Mulholland drive, Sunset Boulevard, Chataeu Marmont, the Griffith Observatory, Runyon Canyon – the list goes on and on,
But this story has nothing to do with LA landmarks and everything to do with an LA moment.
One afternoon, the kids were with hubby down by the pool while I got together some clothes to take to the laundromat. I used the Hotel Roosevelt official laundry bag which as big as a Christmas sack.
I piled all our dirty clothes into the canvas sack and off I went in search of a local laundromat. Walking past the doorman I was greeted with “you want help with that little lady?”
“No thanks I’m all good,” I responded. Realising that I probably looked totally out of place leaving the back entrance of the Roosevelt lugging my laundry around.
The back entrance was reserved for anyone famous who wanted to enter without being seen, but still be noticed. Know what I mean? The Jimmy Kimmel show is filmed just around the corner so most of the guests are ushered into the hotel via this back door. Not discreetly though. There are a lot of black SUV”s, entourages and sunglasses. Samuel L Jackson may have thought no-one would see him ducking into the lobby, but boy was he wrong.
Leaving the back lot of the Roosevelt I had Hollywood High to my left and my GPS was telling me to take a right on Hawthorn Avenue towards La Brae.
In’ N’ Out Burger was just around the corner which I knew from the smell of grease that hung in the air.
I found the laundromat in no time and made some change from the machine on the wall, From memory the washers and dryers only took quarters, which I only had a few of.
Putting the clothes into the mega machine (cause everything in the States is supersized) I could hear a woman singing behind me. I looked to see an older latino woman with beautiful gold jewellery folding what looked like 500 hand towels, I gave her a smile and she smiled back without missing a beat. Those corners were folded down to perfection.
I took a seat on top of a machine that wasn’t being used and just stared out the window. Palm trees, haze and traffic ensued outside as the Los Angelenos went about their day.
Such an unremarkable scene that meant everything to me at the time. I remember thinking to myself…this is so cool, Not because I was doing something exciting or seeing someone important, In fact it was the complete opposite.
I loved the fact that I was doing my laundry that I had dragged over La Brae in a Roosevelt sack. I loved sitting on that washing machine and looking out in contentment. And that’s what it was, Contentment and appreciation of doing a mundane job like laundry in a city like LA.
A city I had always wanted to visit and live in as a local. And doing the laundry was about as ‘local’ as you can get. The Roosevelt Hotel bit, not so much!
Being in a typical LA laundromat, around the corner from the Roosevelt and down the street from Hollywood High is one of my *sigh* moments that I am forever grateful for. No fanfare and no grandeur, Just beautiful memories of a time when everything was aligned,
So just like my friend said, yes, at that moment in LA so many years ago, I knew that was a special moment.