Hey, gang! Welcome to EP 14 of my podcast, “Something That I Wrote.”
I’m writing this in a laundromat. I like writing in a laundromat. I like thinking in a laundromat, too. I don’t know why, but watching those tumblers spin round and round and round does something to my brain. It makes it spin round and round and round, too. You’ve got nothing to do but sit and wait, so you might as well sit and wait and think. Sometimes I sit and wait and think sad thoughts, like when I look across the room and see my reflection in the machines but cannot hardly recognize it. Other times, like today, I sit and stare at myself, and I like what I see, so I smile wide, and I wave, like a kid on a schoolbus waves out the window to his parents as it pulls away on the first day of school.
And sometimes, like today, I think about all kinds of different things all at once. Like the fact that soon, I’ll be headed outta town and on my own, and I’ll probably be spending a lot more time in laundromats than I do now. (Oh, the thoughts that I will think!) I like laundromats because they make me feel grown-up (though not necessarily adult, thankfully) and they make me feel independent and they make me feel a tiny bit important. This September, I’m going back to school, where I hope I will feel all of those things, and maybe even often. I am excited and eager and curious, but I’m also sad, too. Going out east means going outta NOTL. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it at least once more: I love this town.
And as I sit here in this laundromat, waiting for my jean jacket and white t-shirts to dry, I can’t help but feel struck by the sheer passing of time. My clothes are nearly finished, and so, too, is my summer. All the nights I’ve spent cruising round, looking for good times and meaning and chicks, are just about over. My summer’s nearly over, and so is yours, too. I bet you’re sweating now, but you’ll be shivering soon. It happens every year, and you know it does. One of these days, so so very soon, a cold winter wind will arrive, and you might not expect it to, but it will. Trust me. I can anticipate it.
And soon, just like summer, the first season of this podcast’s gonna be wrapping up, too. Soon, there won’t be any new “Something That I Wrote”s for awhile. I’m sitting in this laundromat, contemplating finality, and I can’t help but wonder if there was some subconscious force that dragged me here – only Freud can tell for sure, I guess – cause I realize now that finality has been spinning through my mind a lot lately, and it’s all over this episode. I won’t point all the ways that it is out for you, but I will give you one for free: it’s here in the way that this story features a cold winter wind ending a long summer. And it’s here, too, in the way that this is one last NOTL story. Back in EP 03 and EP 04, I shared two of my stories from Niagara with you. This story is a story from Niagara, too. I wrote it when I wrote those, and though I’ve tweaked it enough that I’m not sure you can completely recognize the town in it, it’s Niagara, and it’s the same fellow from those ones in this one. It may not necessarily seem it, but it is. Again – trust me.
I think there’s a reason I feel so compelled to tell this story at this time. (It’s all about timing, isn’t it?) I think I needed one last story from Niagara. I hope you do, too, but mostly I did it for myself. I needed to tell one last story from Niagara, and so, here it is. Not that it is a story about leaving Niagara. It’s nothing like that. But it is one last Niagara story, and I needed to tell it, so that now, I can start to get ready to leave this place behind. It doesn’t look like a goodbye, but for me, it does the trick.
I won’t be gone forever, of course. I’ll be back as soon as I can. But I needed to start to accept the fact that soon, I will be leaving this town. Soon summer will be over, and soon my clothes will be dry. But they aren’t yet. They will be soon but they aren’t yet, and until then, I’m gonna watch them spin round and round and round.