Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chump Change

The washing machine launders me on a weekly rotation. This only costs a dollar-fifty. To be clean only requires six quarters. No more, no less. This is chump change.

Sometimes as I spin, I look out through the frosty, bubble-obscured glass. Sometimes, I see your face. Usually, it is just my own reflection.

I keep my phone in a waterproof case. It works most of the time, but I do need to upgrade more than most people, usually before my contracts expire. That is not chump change.

Sometimes people ask why I do this. I shrug my shoulders and check the settings on my oxygen tank. I take my mouth off of the mouthpiece as if I might speak, but I only spit into my facemask and rub my saliva around to prevent it from fogging up. I like to be able to see as I spin.

Once the manager came out and stopped the machine. He asked me what the hell I was doing. I told him. He asked why. I told him. The manager nodded sadly, told me it didn’t matter much to him as long as I was a paying customer, and asked that, from now on, I use a large quilt or something and wrap it around my oxygen tank to keep from banging up his machines. That didn’t seem like too much to ask. I agreed. I always wrap my tank in the same blanket. It has a Holly Hobbie pattern on it. It used to belong to my sister. This is fitting.

So I spin and I spin. I go nowhere, but at least I get to travel. And compared to airline tickets, compared to drugs, even compared to beer or malt liquor, this is chump change.

And as I spin, I think.

And the world spins on with or without me.

And with or without you, I spin on.

And that makes it worth every damn penny.

1 comment:

  1. I've been out of the Friday Flash scene for some time, and it's been a while since I've read your work, T.J. I've missed it, and this reminds me why.