There is a clone problem in town. Thousands of middle-aged women who seem to have developed the same wrinkles, the same sagging skin from their bodies, the same fashion of pulled-up high shorts and unnecessary bikini tops. They all talk with smoked-out voices, always on the defensive, their lives are so hard that circumstances have forced them pronounce words in an agitated and humorless manner. When they look at you, you can almost see their eyeballs jiggling with regret and victimization, like they just came out of prison and aren’t sure how to react to people they never even tried to like.
I saw these clones today. In the Sunshine Laundromat.
One of them spoke to the air, several conversations cut short by the ubiquitous phrase: “Hold on, there’s somebody on the other line.” Another one hauled in six bags of soiled clothes, much of it her man’s discolored and streaked underwear. A blonde one stood at the doorway, resting against the metal frame, a cigarette burning and twitching at her lips. She watched as yet another rolled up in a dented and auctioned Caprice (you know, the kind that used to be a police car).
I thought for a moment that I was in a zombie flick. Like they were all suddenly going to glaze over, hold their hands up limply in front of them, and then come after me. I’ve never been more nervous folding my shorts.