At The Laundromat

Yesterday was a cool and cloudy morning, ideal walking weather. I had a load of laundry which needed to be dealt with. The laundromat is seven blocks from my place; I could have taken the truck, but the thrifty side of me balked at the prospect of burning gas in order to haul ten pounds of dirty clothes such a short distance.

Instead I loaded the laundry basket onto one of those pull-behind two-wheeled carts and secured it with bungee cords. Fifteen minutes later I wheeled my cart into the laundromat and loaded a washer. A pleasant and invigorating walk!

I looked around the laundromat. Few people were there and I didn’t see anyone who seemed like they were looking for someone to talk with. I have some good talks with laundromat users from time to time, but evidently this was not a morning for such discourse.

I had twenty minutes to kill. I’d brought a book along, but the weather was so nice — I wandered out the door and looked around the barren parking lot.

Right next to the laundromat is a decrepit old brick house. The roof is in bad shape and some of the windows are boarded up. I doubt anyone lives there, but you never know. The yard is kept mowed, probably by the property owner, who most likely would have the structure razed if it didn’t cost so much money to do so.

Whoever mows the yard has been mowing around an overgrown patch of irises, spring-flowering plants which have set seed already and whose leaves are fast fading. I squatted down and got my camera out. Such competitive botanical drama was revealed to me!

Spearmint, a Eurasian species which spreads clonally and can become invasive, had sprung up and was in full bloom. Bindweed, a white-flowered native morning glory, was struggling and twining up the mint stems and the stems of what looked like a weedy wild aster, which won’t bloom until fall. The bindweed was infested with bright orange aphids, parasitic insects which were busy sucking and paid me no heed.

A closer view of the aphids:

A frost will put an end to this slow-motion struggle.

Notice how the bindweed is blindly groping for something vertical to cling to; if I had unlimited patience I could extend a hand and in time the vine would engulf me in leafy tendrils, causing double-takes from laundromat customers — but life’s too short for such fanciful experiments!

A variety of insects had been attracted to the spearmint flowers. I tried to get a photo of a beautifully iridiscent sweat bee which was making the rounds of the pale-lilac flower-spikes, but the nimble insect wouldn’t pause for long. My attention was attracted by a small bumble-bee busily working over the flowers. A bumble-bee on such a mission tends to be totally oblivious to observers and photographers. They allow you to get up close and personal with a camera:

Notice how the mint flowers bloom upwards from the base of the spike; the unopened buds at the top promise a few more weeks of flowering — unless the mower cleans up this untidy “mess” of vegetation run rampant.

Another plant in bloom was the ubiquitous Asiatic Dayflower (Commelina communis), an invasive alien plant which loves to grow along house foundations and in vacant lots. It’s in the Spiderwort Family:

My laundry was probably done; I straightened up and put the camera back in its belt-pouch. Back to the mundane world!


3 comments on “At The Laundromat

  1. Joan says:

    Like your photos muchly. The plants, which I never noticed before, I may actually now find around here , but neither my camera (nor it’s owner) can photograph the detail that you do. . I too like streets and cracks. Does that make me a crack addict? (grin) I have a whole series on cracks in concrete and walls etc…but none with those great bricks showing through.

  2. Larry says:

    Thanks, Joan.

    What I especially like about cracks in pavement is the suggestion of entropy; plants and lichens gain a foothold (roothold?) in cracks and gaps; give these relentless organisms a decade or two and our hard-won civilized environments will return to Nature.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *