Thursday, August 21, 2014

Adventures in Olympia - Part 1


When I go camping, I am always hoping that the other campers will be playing their music loud enough so that I can enjoy it too.

At this site there are plenty of campers willing to indulge me.  So far today, I have heard techno-club music, country music, something with harps and flutes, and now the thump thump of an unidentifiable hop-hop song.  

I guess these are the conditions to be expected at a "free" campsite where the host is quite possibly a hoarder and doesn't bother to do any of the chores of a camp host.

You think I am joking about the hoarder bit, but there is, among many other things, a roll-top desk and a set of kitchen cabinets outside the host's trailer.  

Our neighbors here are friendly enough, if not a little odd.  Last night at about 3 am Mr. Drinks-from-Creek decided to start his own version of Blue Man Group, adding a kind of monotonous groaning singing on top of the pots he was crashing together.

Our other neighbors seem to be on the verge of perishing from a hacking cough.

We need clean laundry and food, so I leave Hubs to his work and drive into Olympia.  I am also in dire need of a haircut.  I have pleaded with Hubs to just give me a trim but he insists that no matter how careful he is, it will be crooked.  I tell him to snap a plumb line across and cut on the chalk line, but he still says no.  

I visit the cleanest laundromat I have ever been in and am pleased with the job the machines do on our laundry.  While the dryers are going, I stop in at a hair and nail place across the parking lot, where I find a wash and cut are $25.  I know this is a pretty normal, if not cheap rate, but not cheap enough for me.

Across the street, I see a place that looks promising.   Walking in, I see two ladies who look like they have had nothing to do for a very long time.  I ask about the price for a haircut, and when they say $25, I clearly look downcast, thank them, and start to head for the door.

One of the women asks, in broken English, how much I want to pay for a haircut.

"I was hoping for fifteen."  Really, I was hoping for ten, but I figured I shouldn't aim too low at the moment.

"Fifteen?  Simple cut, no fancy? Okay I do for fifteen."

I sit down in her chair and she combs through my hair, then takes up her scissors.  Wait, no wash?  Not even a spritz?  

For fifteen dollars, I am lucky I get to sit.  She spends a few minutes snipping and pulls my hair around to the front.

"Oh, you can cut more off than that.  I just want the dead ends gone."

She reaches down and picks a piece of hair off the floor.  She has already cut about five inches off and my hair is still very long.  I suppose that is enough.

As she is adding a layer, two women walk in and ask for gel manicures (I have no clue what that is, but it must be expensive) and want them at the same time. 

"Can you do us both, right now?"

With the prospect of actual money, my haircut deteriorates rapidly at this point.

She is now not even looking at my hair as she cuts indiscriminately at the snarled knot that has formed at the bottom of my hair.  

We are in the fifth minute of my haircut and she just wants to be done.  She asks if I want to see the back.

"Sure."  I am not at all sure.

I am facing the mirror on the wall, and she holds a smaller mirror behind my head, pointing it downward so all I can see are the trimmings on the floor.  Judging by them, my hair has been successfully cut, so I thank her, get out if her chair and pay.

The dryers should be done by now, so I trot back across the street.  As I open the door, a gagging stench of body odor wafts over me.  An woman is folding her clothes, completely unconcerned that there is a wide unoccupied circle around her and all of the other patrons are huddled against the walls, sputtering and covering their mouths with wet cloth.  I exaggerate, but not by much.  Maybe she is trying the no-deodorant approach and training her body to regulate itself, but it is not working.

I finish with the laundry and skeedaddle as fast as I can.

Bounding outside, I gasp for breath.  Oh, fresh, smog-filled air!  I could kiss thee!

I drive back across the street to a place called the Grocery Outlet.  This must be a Washington thing, and it reminds me of my beloved Aldi, with a few distinct differences.  Their prices are wonderful!  A container of brand-name ice cream is $2, which is great except you have all reject flavors to choose from.  Coffee Gum n' Nuts? Blueberry Bacon?  

A tub of Betty Crocker icing is 50 cents, if you like root beer frosting.

At checkout, the lady at the register asks if I brought bags, or if I would like to buy some.  

"Can you just put them back in the basket?"

"Ha ha ha no."

I think she is joking around with me.  

She stands there looking at me.  This is getting awkward.  

"So you won't put them in the basket."

"No. Ever since that ordinance went into effect, we have lost 26 baskets and he said he isn't buying any more."

Apparently, in this county, there has been a law passed against plastic grocery bags. I buy one paper bag, cram my groceries into it, and am relieved to drive back to the relative normalcy of camp.  At least the trees outnumber the people again.  I understand what makes trees tick.

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