Conversations with the Korean Laundromat Owner...A Old Journal Entry
It was 2007-The Year I was in the Basement ...
I Went to my normal crap hole laundry mat, this day however it was full, so I went 2 blocks down where I had seen another one. One painted yellow with a huge smiley face on the side of the building. In the last 10 years I have never had to use a laundry matt..now with my financial restrictions it has become part of my weekly routine.
I try to see this as an adventure, and time to focus on the space to fold, iron and take care of my cloths as before I would just throw a load in. I treated this new adventure like meditation, even if I saw the odd bug on the floor.
I asked the little Chinese man for change, his name is Mike and is about 65 years old, dresses very well and wears a cute little bow tie, on a good day he will wear a traditional golfing hat. I said Hi, you got some change? Big Smile...yous first times here? mi name is Mikie..All the change I wear in my pocket.I makes the music when I walk…haah… You come here now I give you berry good deal. I never forget the face, wit your name? He says this all in one sentence as he gives me 10 dollars in change. Laura I say. Big Smile...yous like green tea, Wara? You never go to special laundry? have green tea...you drink this tea, stay cozy and warm here. I say yes.
As the store gets busy he goes about helping people from cars taking care of drop offs and serving his tea in very little cups. Nov 25th I return to do my laundry. ...as I pull in I see him doing what I think is Ty-chee...he is in very long plaid shorts and has a scarf on, it is pouring rain out..He does not seem to mind. He sees my car and comes shuffling over...ahhh Wara, you let me help you, and he takes out my baskets and helps me load.. Big Smile...So glad yous come back..You like me green tea hey, it is from South Korea, I have a question today Wara, you believe in God? I say Yes...I think so Big Smile...Good, Mikie leaves you alone today, lotsa wok.
Dec 2nd- I went very early due to lots of snow; I pull in as Mikie is shoveling. Ahh Wara so glad you come today! lotsa snow hey. He helps me unload. Hey Wara, you believe in God today? I laugh and say sure Michael..Little does he know I just prayed the snow would go away?As I get settled, he sits across from me; I start to read the paper...he starts talking to me anyway...God has big plan for you today Wara, I look over my paper and say, is it to win the lottery? No, today you will not smoke...you are smoker right wara? I said yes. You no need lottery, you will be rich. For one pack a day Wara, you drive new Mercedes...I tell yous is true, but god...he tell me you will not smoke after today.He then says...hey you go to Notradame? yous wear the sweater all time.I said just for a visit, you should go, berry smart women like you..Do you know the meaning of Notradame Wara...I say, I think so...at that moment the phone rings.
He comes back, last week I go to France, family bizness, I get you rosemary...and he states from where, however I cannot understand him.Next time you come I give to you. When yous gonna come again Wara, I say Monday. You need to know meaning Wara...next time you tell me. He then says, you have Catholic name? I said no. He said I know you gonna go to church, you gonna be fine, and he pats my shoulder..
I never told him that I had just had my fiance walk out after 7 years. I find this all very odd...as I am at the Laundry Matt. I say to him, maybe I not go to church...when I go to the church I cry. He sits down cocks his head, and says Waraaa....that is the true crap in the core, that is gods way of healing...maybe sometime yous hurt yourself, yous is not aware. Now you will be and you will grab it. I am now crept right out...it’s a sign. He gets up changes a machine and says you wills be fine...
Do you know what Michael means? I say no, not really. It is biblical? name I think, I say. It means Messenger Wara, but you call me Mikie ok Wara....now all the hairs are standing up. I am almost done now, and I ask Mikie if this is his only business... Big Smile...hahah, me wife she buy me for 30th anniversary gift, I am retired; she says I drive her crazy. My wife still kick me butt. As I am leaving he runs out, taps my window...
He says, you have fun on your next trip Wara... I never told him I was going on any trip. I was leaving for New York that week.
This is a true story, I received the antique wooden Rosemary from Korea..it was beautiful..I wrote to him later when I got out of the basement and asked if I may publish this storey.
Mike was delighted! He also did some research of his own on the building his wife bought him for retirement..It is considered one of the first buildings to go up in Delta-Vintage, now when you go into his little place there are old photos from a decade ago, he offers preferred 25 hour service to valued customers, where they receive a key to the shop. This way you can always have comfort..and green tea...in snow or rain..or just because your in the doghouse.
No matter where you are , there are angels..
Meaning of Notradame: Our Lady