Set to Normal

Recently in a discussion about what normal is, a classmate mentioned that her father used to say “normal is only a setting on the laundry machine.” i thought that was super clever.


Set it to Normal for thirty minutes. Normal, for thirty minutes. Normal. Thirty minutes.


It tumbles in front of me. Tumbles and turns, and all the colors mix and melt into each other. The pinks, the blues, the shreds of yellow and green, orange too. The colors tangle and mingle, dancing, salsa in the salad bowl, parading on the floats through the crowded streets. Ah, the colors. Colors? Oh no!

Didn’t their mama tell them that colors aren’t supposed to go together?

Hey. Look. Are you going to stand there all day? I got another load I can use the machine for.

What did mama say again? Set to Normal, and how long? How long? Argh! I can’t remember. How long?

Hey kid. Look. If you want to play some stupid game, go play elsewhere. I got stuff to do here, now get!

The fat lady is looking at me and saying something. Her mouth is opening and closing, opening and closing. She seems angry. Her eyes are blue, big and round, so is her face. Not blue. Her face is not blue, but a bit burnt brown. I guess she goes to the beach a lot.

Her lips are scrunching up together, and I can see how her lipstick is starting to wear off. Must be some cheap cosmetics. What color do they call that again? I remember reading about it somewhere. But I can’t remember. How long did mama say?

This kid won’t move. I got to do my load. Hey Carl, you know whose kid this is?

Who? I don’t know. Haven’t seen her in all my life.

Oh wait, I know who she is. She’s that kid. You know, her kid.

Well, what’s her kid doing here? Tell her to come here and take this girl away! She’s done blocking my business!

I ain’t telling her. You go on now and just wait for another machine.

Shocking pink! That’s what it was! Shocking pink! Named after that Shocking perfume back in 1937. Leonor Fini for Elsa Schiaparelli. That’s what it is. Shocking pink. Not a very good color for her. She can do better than that.

Kid, go home and tell your mama to take her dirty laundry somewhere else .

What? Fat lady’s mouth is moving again. Open and close, open and close. I think she had onions for lunch.

So what did mama say again? How long? How long?

I know she said to set it to Normal.

Set to Normal

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