2nd Wednesdays at 6pm Beach Coin Laundry 19072 Beach Bl (x Garfield) Huntington Beach

Laundry With A Side of Biryani. And a Dream.

November Laundrylove felt a bit like a festival. All kinds of people. Laundry guests. Volunteers. Social Workers. Twelve Step Program visitors. Musicians. Church people. Mosque people. Yoga people.

Nayyer, Ahmed, a whole group of kind and generous men from the Islamic Center of Orange County showed up with a delicious meal of rice and biryani (Lucknow style): and fruit and breads. Can I brag that Laundrylove HB doesn't order pizza or fried chicken, we eat real meals. It's 'first fruit' food, not leftovers or fast food.

I realized at some point during the evening that I spent almost the entire first 3 hours outside with our homeless and community guests, talking about mathematics, medical care, sleeping between dumpsters, the history of the Navajo people, spicy food, music, and on and on. Thanks to the wonderful volunteers that now show up at Laundrylove, I actually haven't stuffed quarters into washers or dryers for a few months, except when the volunteers dwindle and I return to take their place.
As Shannon likes to say, I'm the goodwill ambassador. I guess so. I just am comfortable now having long conversations with our community about their lives. Or what their lives used to be like. I just listen.
Christian and I always stay till the end, when Gabby and her family arrive to finish cleaning up. We wait until the last guest has folded and packed up. It's actually a good time to catch up with them, because we can focus on them, help them fold or carry laundry to their car or bike, and then finish up with Gabby by taking out the trash, or sweeping up the dog-ends in the alley.

Shannon, who works harder than anyone (at least I say so), is usually exhausted by the time the lights go out, and she and Damian head home.

I worry about El Nino. Those who sleep on the street, or in leaky cars and RVs, will not be comfortable this winter. I know these men and women, I know how uncomfortable they will be.
I dream of the ability to find temporary housing for our guests this winter. It's not like we don't know the character of our long term guests. We have known some of them for over 4 years.

Ted (not his real name) has just had surgery on his detached biceps. He tells us of his surgery, and then his recovery in a motel, provided by Illumination Foundation, for two weeks. As he speaks, a wave of gratefulness comes over me for all that I have.
Instead of finding his place between two dumpsters:
He was able to lock his door for two weeks.
He could take a shower every day.
He had clean sheets.
There were problems with the electrical circuits, a microwave and air conditioner on the same circuit, so, with the permission of the owner, he fixed that.
He cleaned the bathtub of a stain using a broken tree branch as a scrubber.
He convinced the carpet shampooer, who was cleaning the carpet in the next room, that his carpet was dirtier, so the guy cleaned both.
He was able to keep his arm immobilized but do some handyman work for the manager.

He is now back on the street.
He won't get a job soon, because he needs a few months to heal, and his days of a clean shower are now limited.
He does have clean clothes.
He stores his clothes, and tools, and stuff from when he once had a room in a house, in his old car, which is waiting for a smog cert from Sacramento.

I dream of the ability to find temporary housing for our guests this winter.
I know, I just said that,

A social worker from 211 walked the line like an angel, (I don't think people really quite understand that there are real angels walking around) and helped a few guests with information. She may be able to help Tom.

I dream of the ability to find temporary housing for our guests this winter.
I know, I just said that. Again.