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I recently met up with a friend who lives in Pac Heights and we decided to head down to the Ferry Building for some food and shopping. We got on the 1 at the corner of Fillmore and Sacramento and it was already pretty packed. I got on first and ended up pushing my way to the back of the bus where I stood near those groups of chairs facing each other. My friend couldn’t make it as far back and was closer to the rear door.

We were riding along a few blocks, approaching the point when the bus turns left at Gough and then down Clay for the rest of the trip, when all of a sudden a woman started screaming.

“Get out of that seat you piece of shit!” came from this little woman in her forties or fifties.

Immediate silence falls over the bus.

“You heard me,” she continued, “get up so the old man can have a seat. What kind of lazy sack of shit are you? You are the laziest fuck I’ve ever seen.”

We all look toward the supposed “old man” who doesn’t really seem to care if he’s sitting. He looks just as confused as everyone.

Although the dude that was being yelled at looked extremely uncomfortable (with a twinge of nervous smiling) as she continued to berate him for the next five minutes, he never talked back. He just sat there in silence as she kept screaming. The woman finally got off the bus at a stop in Nob Hill. She walked down the back steps, and while the doors were still opened, screamed from the street “I hope a bus runs you over and you DIE.”

Bus door closes. Uncomfortable laugther ensues. Uncontrollable laughter from my friend I keep us connected even though strangers continued to keep us apart.


There are a few things that help me get out of bed in the morning: the way that first sip of coffee tastes as it hits my lips (and how I subsequently mumble an expletive as I spill it, just as I do every day); the possibility that after I step out of the shower, my hair will magically alter into something manageable; the thought that I will run into a supermodel who will find me “normal” and “not like other guys” and want to marry me; and finally, the chance that I will be able to reflect on something.

You see, I love reflecting. Not in that tantric yoga, summoning-of-the-Aztec-God-Centeotl-who-will-tell-me-if-I’m-having-a-child-anytime-soon kind of way, but in the sense that I can compare things against each other. I reflect on small decisions like restaurant choices or the types of communication I have (or don’t have) with baristas at coffee shops I visit most often. I reflect on how certain types of weather can affect my mood. I reflect on whether this year was better than last, and if last year was worse than the year before.

When conjuring up my thoughts of any month or year, I tend to remember meaningful events based on music. I remember the song I had on repeat when I was riding the 38 for job interviews in February. I remember what I listened to on my iPod as I drove to work on November 5th. I remember the songs I played when I was loving life, and my go-to sad songs when I was having rough days.  I remember buying certain albums and not remembering what life was like before them.

I remember my life as a series of playlists: april 2008, consistently inconsistent, chill music, jamz and naughty november.

Because of all this, I want to present my Top 10 Songs of 2008. Before I explain what has defined my year, let me explain my methodology. These songs did not have to be created in 2008, nor are they the best songs I listened to this year. This is a list of songs that, for whatever reasoned, defined my year and when I hear them, I immediately think of something that happened or a way I felt. These are 10 songs that years from now will always be associated with 2008.

Below is my list. Enjoy.

HIP-HOP SAVED MY LIFE — Lupe Fiasco (feat. Nikki Jean)

This album (and specifically this song) started my new-found love for hip-hop… and specifically the mini-genre of suburban hip-hop which Kanye West has championed and Lupe Fiasco has created his own unique version of it. I listened to this album continuously at the beginning of this year. It makes me think of driving to SJSU, parking my car in the garage north of campus and walking to my office. I love the story within the story in this song and although Superstar is the stand-out song from Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool, this song will always be my favorite.

SAN JOSE — Joe Purdy

I moved from San Jose to San Francisco back in February and this is the song I listened to as I geared up for the big change. Kind of weird since I probably should have played “Sittin on the Dock of the Bay” or something else SF-related, but I kept jamming to Joe Purdy. As trite as it is, I enjoy putting this on anytime I drive back down there. It’s great for belting in that rough-voiced-manly kind of way.

M79 — Vampire Weekend

I honestly can’t believe that Vampire Weekend has only been a part of my life for less than a year. This is one of those albums for which I don’t remember what my musical life was like before I heard it. My friend Jason introduced me to them, assuming that I already had fallen head-over-heels. But when I responded “who’s that?” he made sure I checked them out. And this is me officially thanking you. This is one of those rare “perfect albums,” an experience where every song is amazing and I never find myself skipping tracks. I’m scared for whatever they may produce next because I truly find this album to be remarkable. Why this song? It makes me think of the spring and walking through Golden Gate Park and the Haight as I explored my new neighborhood back in April and May. It reminds me of discovering, growth and starting anew.

LA FOULE — Edith Piaf

One weekend I rented the movie La Vie en Rose, the biopic of Edith Piaf. I thought the movie was going to be uplifting and full of fun French music and the story of a media darling from the first half of last century. I didn’t know much about Piaf except she was a singer. Well, this movie was dark and her life was often extremely depressing and frustrating to watch. But the performance by Marion Cotillard was by far one of the best acting jobs I’ve ever seen. And these songs permeated my existence for months. I bought the soundtrack and listened to it relentlessly. I played my strange french music as I cooked dinner for friends and they often asked me to put something on more contemporary. Fair enough. But you really need to listen to this album. And this song, about seeing a love in a crowd and them being swept away before you can reach them, is the epitome of the hope that lied somewhere deep within Piaf, but the sad reality that was her love and life.

LOVE IN THIS CLUB/FOREVER/NO AIR — Usher, Chris Brown & Jordin Sparks

No judging. These three songs are all on my playlist from May and remind me of that turbulent month. This May was probably one of the worst months of my life. Although it’s usually the highlight due to amazing things such as my birthday and graduation, this May was filled with food poisoning, stomach viruses and my car getting broken into… all within a span of three weeks. These songs provided me an escape from everything going on, especially when all I wanted to do was listen to Elliot Smith and wallow in my sadness.

GIVING UP — Ingrid Michaelson

This is the perfect female, folksy, featured-on-Grey’s-Anatomy type of song that somehow struck a chord with my cold, bleak heart. She talks about all these fears she has in a (potential) relationship. “What if I fall further than you?/what if you dream of somebody new?/what if I never let you in?” are some of the questions she asks. THIS IS WHAT I THINK ABOUT TOO, INGRID. Marry me, k?


I have two memories related to this song. The first is that my friend Annalyn went to a gay club with a bunch of dudes one night, including a friend of hers from grad school. Her friend met another guy and they were dancing and grinding up on each other. When her friend went to the bar, this new guy (David) walks up to Annalyn and says in his heavy hispanic accent “ohhh, you’re friend is so cuuute. What do you think we’re going to do tonight?” Annalyn asks “what do you want to do tonight?” David then says “Evvvverything.” Minutes later, this Rihanna song comes on and as the happy new couple is dancing, David starts singing “please don’t stop the music, na na na na na.” He couldn’t remember any of the words. But rumor has it he remembered how to take our friend home.

Memory number two involves my brother and Jessie coming out to visit me in April. This song was playing on the radio all the time, and one time we found ourselves waiting for the 33 in the Mission and we couldn’t stop singing it. I may or may not have given my brother a lapdance at the bustop to this song.

FEELING GOOD — Michael Buble

I have the original version of this song and electronic version called How I Feel by Wax Tailor. Both are good, but neither has captured my love for these words like the Michael Buble edition. This is the only song I own by this dude and I can’t help but think it would be great music to which one can perform a stripping routine. But the real reason this song is on the list is because I discovered it on October 29, almost a week before the election. It’s a song about optimism and a new tide rolling in. I played it as I drove to an election that party that night, and once again while I was coming home. At one point, he says “well freedom is in mind and I know how I feel/ it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me/ and I’m feeling good.” And that’s how I felt. And that’s how America felt. It was our new dawn, our new day and our new life when Obama won.

YOU KNOW I’M NO GOOD — Amy Winehouse

I first listened to Amy Winehouse’s CD sometime in late fall of 2007. I thought Rehab was an instant classic and that Tears Dry on Their Own was perfectly dark. I would have defined the album as “cool, retro and jazzy.” I put it away for a few months and during that time my life took a roller-coaster of events. In late April, I put Back to Black on my rotation again and this time I got it. I understood everything Amy Winehouse was saying. Her pain was my pain. Her longing and despair were mine as well. This was one of those albums that I wasn’t ready for during my initial listening. I understood it on a superficial surface and it wasn’t until a crazy series of events concluded that made me finally relate. And although I have many favorite tracks and could listen to each song on repeat for hours, You Know I’m No Good just struck a chord with me. And when she sang it at the Grammy’s, it was as if she was saying “I told you so.” You were right all along.

BUTTERFLY — Jason Mraz

I would let Jason Mraz make sweet, sweet love to me solely because of this song. It’s one of the sexiest songs I’ve ever heard. And at first, I didn’t think I was going to like it. What’s up with these weird 70s funk sound in the background? What exactly is he referring to when he’s talking about a butterf…. oh. Oh. Wow.

I have this horrible habit of blurring the reality of my past experiences with my perception of how they occurred. I suppose it’s the story-teller in me; I embellish the juicy details, I elongate time when it benefits my need for suspense, and I’ll convienently forget the presence of certain individuals or add those who I wish were part of the plot. My stretching of the truth, my palpable examples that change over time… they slowly take place over months and years. Let’s take the story of when I met Tony Danza on my 10th birthday. There are a slew of events I accurately recall.

I remember Barbara Cahn, my frenemy Michael’s mother, coming up to us and saying that Tony Danza was at the batting cages. I remember eating cheese pizza (I didn’t eat pepperoni until my early teens when someone dared me at a Chuck-E-Cheese with the hefty reward of one gold token). I remember there being friends from school and the JCC present but beside from Michael’s mom, I can’t name specific people (I’m not even sure if Michael was there).

Yet when I tell this story, I mention that Barbara Cahn brought me to Tony Danza and told him that it was my birthday. He asked me how old I was turning and when I said “ten,” he replied with a typically male and wonderfully brief “happy birthday, kid.” If I had to make a bet, I would wager money that this actually happened; yet I have my doubts. I’ve been saying this part of the story for so long that I can’t remember if I made it up once and kept to those lines for consistency until the point that I believed it actually happened. Or maybe Tony Danza said something and I’ve just gotten a few lines misquoted along the way.

It seems I am living proof of truthiness. I create my own reality based on what I think my life has been. My imagination has always gotten me into trouble and it’s hard to tell where the facts end and make believe begins.

But despite my inaccuracy with small details and my need for life to be like a plot from a coming-of-age novel, I find this to be one of my favorite qualities about myself. Everything in my life happens for a reason and daily disasters become a source for symbolism. I see myself as a character in my own life, watching from a third-person perspective. Because of this, I often let life happen to me rather than the other way around. But by no means am I a push-over; I just see myself as a bystander reading the story of my existence. I don’t get too upset over unfortunate events because I know the plot will eventually take a turn for the better. I know love will come when it’s meant to arrive and it will be magical.

I have created a world where fact meets fiction and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

I wish I had known my grandfather when he wasn’t insane.

The majority of my memories are sad and pathetic. I remember my grandpa as a man who always complained about his health. He taught me the word hypochondriac before I began studying for my SATs. He was balding, had a huge gut and barely knew how to take care of himself.

He was scared of anything and everything. The first time my brother and I ever experienced a thunderstorm was in 1989 in Los Angeles. My parents left to go food shopping at Vons and the storm came while the old man was watching us. We were frightened because it was the first time we heard thunder, but my grandpa’s intense screaming only made it worse. He had us huddled in a corner of a room, waiting for the storm to pass. Fortunately, my parents knew this would happen so they immediately left the supermarket and saved us from his anxiety.

My grandpa followed us almost everywhere we moved. We briefly lived with him in New York City for two years before we headed to Los Angeles. My grandpa moved out shortly and stayed in the same house as us for years until my father neared a mental breakdown and forced him to get an apartment. When we moved to Delaware in 1994, my grandpa moved out a year or so later.

We were afraid to ask him how he was doing because it always leaded into a diatribe about incompetent doctors, medicines not working, and problems that only he knew about and physicians seemed to ignore.

But I do have a few fond memories. When I was 5 years old, Poppy (as he made us call him) insisted on giving me art lessons. He taught me how to draw shapes. He instructed on how a face should be illustrated and how shading can make something seem real. When I got older, he bought me watercolors and let me paint on paper plates and the old printer paper that had the edges with circles that you had to rip off. I didn’t care much for it at the time, but I really wish I had paid more attention. I have a love for art now and I wish my interest would have been sparked earlier. Maybe I could have pursued it as a career.

The man’s story is intriguing. A blond haired, blue eyed Jew who grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina (clearly, I got none of his genes); he wasn’t the tallest of men, but he had a way with words. He married a young Jewish lady from New York City and moved up north. He came from a family of gamblers. His father had owned one of the only liquor stores in North Carolina immediately after the 18th Amendment was appealed in 1933. His family became instantly rich, but gambled it all away. My grandfather received these genes, unfortunately, and gambled his savings away at casinos, lottos, races and games. He was a risk-taking man but always ended up on the sad side of defeat. The world was against him, he’d say. Maybe he was right.

I wish I would have known him when he was younger and was a Drum Major for Duke. He never went to college, but somehow weaseled himself into marching with the Duke band. He was always proud of my musical talent and probably wish I had taken it seriously. Sometimes I wish I had taken it seriously too.

So maybe I’m giving the old man a bad rap. He had some good points… but they were muddled by crazy. When I look back on our relationship together before he passed away in 2001, the highlights were those art lessons. We sat at a table in our backyard in Los Angeles. He’d bring the materials, I would just copy whatever he did. I’m sure my drawings were a disgrace to the lead company that created the pencils, but he made me feel like I was on the right track to being the next Picasso. He kept saying how much potential I had and that I should really practice more. “If you practice,” he’d say, “no one can stop you.”

Twenty years later, I’m practicing again. I’ve taken up drawing and painting and I can get lost for hours and days when I have a brush in my hand and acrylics in reach. It’s one of the only things I can do for extended periods of time without getting bored or restless.

I may not always be the best listener, but your message will eventually sink in. Despite his anxiety and fears and conspiracy theories, I am grateful that he took the time to give me those lessons. They were brief and often erratic and I mostly didn’t understand why I was the one who had do them instead of swimming, swinging or salivating in front of the tv. But now I get it. And I can’t wait until I get the chance to teach someone else how to draw crooked noses and ungodly large foreheads.

Check out the email I received this evening:

Subject: You Clearly Rock Jared

“And…those fingers of yours write some super detailed, funny, tip givin’ and informative reviews! Seriously, your reviews have been some of the best we’ve read from the Bay area and that’s why we come to your inbox today, to make ya an offer ya can’t refuse. Well we guess you can, but where’s the fun in that!! So here goes…

We’d officially like to invite you to join the Yelp SF(Bay area) Elite Squad!

*insert crowd roar here*”

This has been my goal since May. See kids, if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.


This is Your Nation on White Privilege
by Tim Wise

For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you’ll “kick their fuckin’ ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot
shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don’t all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you’re “untested.”

White privilege is being able to say that you support the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance because “if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me,” and not be immediately disqualified from holding office–since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the “under God” part wasn’t added until the 1950s–while believing that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires
it), is a dangerous and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.

White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you.

White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto was “Alaska first,” and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you’re black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she’s being disrespectful.

White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do–like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child
labor–and people think you’re being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college–you’re somehow being mean, or even sexist.

White privilege is being able to convince white women who don’t even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a “second look.”

White privilege is being able to fire people who didn’t support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely
knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.

White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian
nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God’s punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and
everyone can still think you’re just a good church-going Christian, but if you’re black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you’re an extremist who probably hates America.

White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a “trick question,” while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O’Reilly means you’re dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.

White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism is, as Sarah Palin has referred to it a “light” burden.

And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren’t sure about that whole “change” thing. Ya know, it’s just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain…

White privilege is, in short, the problem.

San Francisco is probably the only city in the country where it’s cheaper to live closer to the beach… and being the cheap bastard I am, you can find my apartment a mere 20 blocks from Ocean Beach. I make it down to the beach on several occasions: walks around Sutro Heights, bike rides near the water, and trips to visit 100 cardboard cut-outs of Native Americans near the Cliff House. Despite all my endeavors, I’ve never hung out at the beach at night… until this weekend when I went to my very first bonfire.

When I was told we were having a bonfire for Mark’s birthday, I imagined us being the only group huddled in a circle near the ocean. Upon arriving at the beach, I saw 20-30 groups of people scattered on the sand from Balboa to Noriega. Fire pits were set up everywhere you looked: some in holes dug in the sand, others raised up above the ground with sand scultures formed around them. As we walked toward our spot, I noticed that groups had music speakers, hookahs and fireworks. This wasn’t just a last minute thought for these people; these bonfires were planned well in advance.

Our group had 8-10 people huddled around a fire that was dug into the ground. We all placed hot dogs on sticks and stuck them in the sand. My first attempt was kind of a disaster. The stick fell out of the sand and the weiner landed in the fire. But my second one was mighty delicious (even after my kvetching about whether it was fully cooked or if I would get another bout of food poisioning). We also had chips, smores, liquor-induced jello and my trusty Nalgene with a bottle of wine encased within its green walls. At one point, when the fire was diminishing, we put a cardboard box in the hole. The fire ate that cardboard box so fast and it lit up the entire beach. But as quickly as the new fire dynasty began, it died and we ended up packing up and heading out.

I can’t believe I live so close to the beach and never heard of this before. I want to have a bonfire every weekend. All you do is put on a warm sweater, get your favorite food and drinks, bring some music, enjoy the sound of the ocean as the sun sets… and the fire does everything else. It provides warmth, it cooks the food, it becomes the visual commonality for everyone in the group, it serves as a conversation starter, and its existence is co-dependent on the people who created it. It’s the ultimate symbiotic relationship.

The past two days with the nPod have proven to be entertaining. There have been moments of pure joy:

  • When I discovered the Jon Secada album that featured “Just Another Day” and “Do You Believe In Us”
  • “Love is a Battlefield” by Pat Benetar (I sure did picture myself in my jammies with a bunch of 12 year old girls like in the movie 13 Going on 30)

There have been some artists of which I’ve never heard and listening to one song has inspired me to investigate more:

  • “Hey, Hey” by The Elms
  • “Happy” by Fischerspooner

There have been some artists I know, but songs I’ve never heard before that I really liked:

  • “Chitown Tonight” by Joe Purdy
  • “Lucifer” by Jay-Z

And finally, there has been one song that made me question my friend’s validity in this competition:

  • “If You Asked Me To” by Celine Dion

But who am I to say anything? I’m sure I have equally embarassing guilty pleasures (see: Britney Spears, Whitney Houston, soundtrack from The Incredibles). Unless, of course, this wasn’t a guilty pleasure and in fact their personal anthem. In which case, we may need to have an intervention.

Day 4 with nPod: going strong. We’re growing attached.  We whisper sweet nothings in the day, spoon each other at night. I open doors for him, he pays for my dinner.

I even used the “L” word last night… do you think it was too soon?

One of the patterns I have developed since moving to the city is doing laundry on Tuesday nights. I chose Tuesday mostly from a process of elimination. Monday is too long already and to do laundry would just elongate the pain. Wednesday nights have some of my favorite trashy tv shows (but can be substituted for happy hour quite easily). Thursday is a good night to hang out with friends, anticipating the sweet sounds of Saturday and Sunday just around the corner. And Friday– well, I usually save my Friday evenings for reviewing my bug collection and polishing my rock garden. And since the weekends are quite hectic at Sunshine Laundry, Tuesday is my default day. Tuesday is the day when I rinse, wash, heat and repeat.

There are some perks about doing my laundry in public. I love showing everyone my underwear (whether they want to see it or not). I’m quite proud of the money I’ve spent on my Old Navy Lingerie collection. It’s a good investment. And I must say I look good in the boxers that say “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” all over them. That was $4.99 well spent. Something I’m also proud of is how I have horrible laundry etiquette. I’m well aware that one is supposed to divide their loads into things like “whites” and “colors” and “delicates” but I prefer to divide my loads into “top half of the basket” and “everything else I didn’t grab the first time around.” I don’t really buy clothes that would bleed and my whites usually stay pretty bright so I have little use for bleach. I’m sure this will come to haunt me one day, but for now I enjoy living life on the edge.

I really like that using a laundromat forces me to do it all at once. I’ve always hated laundry because I go through the same conflict of do I stay around and diligently listen for the machine to get it done quickly so others can use it? and do I put my clothes in the dryer and come back whenever and deal with the wrinkly mess that will await my folding fingers? No more conflict when I do it all at once. And the best part is the counter space to fold all your clothes when your done. By the time I get home, all I have to do is put them away. I used to hate folding my clothes on my bed, so now I don’t have to associate my sleeping palace with dirty laundry… but instead with things like blankets, pillows and my silky, soft skin.

And what about the characters that come in the laundromat when you’re there? There’s always those who walk in, put their clothes in the machines and peace out. Since I live a few blocks away and haven’t worked myself up to the point where I can leave and feel comfortable that my clothes will still be around when I get back, I sit on the bench and watch my striped socks swirl in the washing machine filled with one carefully measured scoop of Air Breeze Tide.

Then of course there are those who stay in the Laundromat. Some people bring nothing with them and just sit there. Others will bring books or iPods, jamming to Laundromat appropriate music (for a list of Laundromat Appropriate Music, please refer to the LAM guide at your local Sunshine Laundry). A few people will talk on the phone, making laps around the machines as they speak with their friends or partners or grandparents. Doing laundry is a great time to call the grandparents. When you tell them what you’re doing, they can’t help but be proud that you can do your own laundry now.

My favorite type of people are those who come with their friends, most likely drink between loads and insist on singing really bad songs as loud as they can. Wait, did I say “favorite?” I meant “please never come back.”

Where other nights can bring unknown adventures, Tuesdays are reliable because of their quirky predictability. Although the people and songs and books and strange looks change, I know I will always be entertained by my fellow Laundromaters. We’re a rare breed: we public displayers of laundry, we shower and tellers. It’s a shame if you don’t do your laundry at the laundromat; you people are really missing out.