Where I Live Is Where You Ain’t

I post alot about the neighborhhood I live in, and about the laundromat I go to for freakdom infused laundry. I know though that they are kind of hard to imagine on their own with just me talking about them, so I thought I would show you a bit of my life:

This is a street that I have to drive to get near my house… I apologize now for the blurriness of some of the photos… I was taking them as I was driving the car… I can multitask, but I usually end up doing one thing better than the other and in this case I think choosing the car driving was the better of the options:

Same street further on:
I think how the grafitti is aesthetically pleasing with the buildings makes all the difference… really.

When I first moved in many years ago there was an old lady who lived next door. One day there was a ruckus outside of my home, and I went out to see what all the hubbub was about. There was several cops and an ambulance parked outside on the street and all the neighbors had come out as well. At the time I stood there, and nudged my friend Vince in the ribs and said quietly “God, you’d think someone died or something”. Lo and behold I must have been psychic as the little old lady next door had just vacated her home to go to the great bingo hall in the sky. For months her relatives tried renting out the place to no avail. They even added aluminum siding…. though sadly that siding covers only what is visible from the front street and no more, it stops after about a foot on the sides. So after a few more weeks of vacancy the windows got boarded up, and there it stayed for years. Last year the owners decided to have another go, so they remodeled the sucker… at least I think they did… and put it up for rent. This is how it looks now:

As you can see, after the 7th break in they decided to board up the front door, however not before all the copper pipes in the place had been stolen for scrap and not before the fat kid next door threw a few bricks through the window. If you look closely you can even see where he took a sledgehammer to the door board in an effort to rebreak it down. Some of those weeds there you see in the front are poison ivy… nice eh? This next pic is the back of the house… now they did try to use the whole curb appeal thing to their adventage, but curb appeal only goes so far when the back looks like this:

Oh yeah, that is a scrap door being used to board up a window… classy huh? Those boards have been up since the old lady died. Notice the lack of aluminum siding. As well I’m pretty sure that this piece just laying on the roof here is pretty important for something:
My neighborhood just exudes class, doesn’t it? In the above pic you can see part of the destructive fat kid’s house. To the upper left you see a roof like protrusion. The kids who live in this house play on that roof which is two stories up. They wrestle, they let off illegal fireworks, they even sun themselves out there. Hard to believe isn’t it?

Not as hard as you may think.

Apparently roof playing is common in this neighborhood as the kids across the street do it as well.

Now on to my freaky laundromat. The laundromat I go to is in Southside Pittsburgh. Regardless of where I have lived in and around Pittsburgh I have always loved Southside the best of all the neighborhoods. Southside is a convenient 10 minute or so walk from my current house, its laundromat is cheaper than the one three blocks from my house, and though I may get dry humped by midgets I find that its a better alternative than being shot at or robbed.
So for starters we have the laundromat survival kit:

Knitting, Non-peepeefied Sansa, something to read (in this case a back issue of BH&G), a pop, and coffee cakes.
And laundry just isn’t laundry unless you are seranaded by PAT mass transit buses going by every five or so minutes:

Here is the business portions of the laundromat:

Oooooooo Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh……….. how ultimately laundromatty!! There are only 5 chairs on my laundromat, and this is never a problem. If you look very closely in the pictures you will see lots of laundry being done. Of all that laundry the one machine with the green bottle of softener is mine…. the rest all belongs to people who put their wash in and go out to a bar and drink- to return later and switch to the dryer and return back to the bar. At one point, on the day I took these pics, every dryer along the back wall was being used and I was the only person in there… no lie.
This sign makes noise:

They say: “ECONOWASH LAUNDROMAT”, “STORE HOURS SUN-THURS 7AM-Mid”, and “Air Conditioned”. The Air Conditioned sign is a lie…. a complete lie. Though a funny story…. see the red house with the blue door? An old lady used to live there who would walk over to the laundromat, grab a rolly basket, fill it up with clothes from a dryer, and return home, to later return the rolly basket. Thing is…. it wasn’t her laundry. She was stealing other people’s laundry all day since people leave it unattended and taking their laundry home. A lady who works for this place told me that one day one of the owners went over there since they saw her take the cart only to go inside and see the place was laundry wall to wall. She was apparently stealing it to sell at Trader Jack’s (which is like an every weekend open sale, yard sale, thingy type place).

And since I was on a mission to take photos for you folks I decided to walk around Southside a bit, but I couldn’t stray too far from my laundry…. its just clothes… but they’re MY clothes damn it… so I walked around the block that the laundromat was located on.

Cute little street with these inset into the pavement:

There was also this:

Its good to know that past ethnic describers are still in use in today’s business world…. “Hi, is this Harry O’Brien, the Irishman?” “No, I’m sorry you have the wrong number. I’m Harry O’Brien the Italian.”

During my walk I discovered something…….. something which may very well be the cause of all the freakdom at the laundromat……. just 5 houses down from where I wash my delicates was this!!!!:

Do you dare click for a closer view… let me save you the trouble:

Apparently I discovered the location of the Secret Sect Of Southside Carnies, who else would have a carnival helicopter ride in their backyard?



  1. Rachel said,

    August 3, 2006 at 11:31 pm

    You know what the funniest part of this is? The fact that you walk around the neighborhood snapping pictures like an insurance adjuster. I can totally picture it and that makes me really laugh.

    Your laundrymat rocks btw!

  2. cherry blossom said,

    August 4, 2006 at 12:21 pm

    omg this has to be one of the best looks into someone’s everday life i’ve seen 😀 i LOVE your laundromat! sounds like an adventure 🙂

  3. Severina said,

    August 4, 2006 at 7:50 pm

    That’s the cleanest laundromat I’ve ever seen. (now that’s just going to make you photograph the neat little pile of dog/human poo curled in the corner isn’t it?)

    But I’m envying the backyard carnival ride. Our carnies tend to have cars on blocks in their backyards.

  4. Vaguely Urban said,

    August 4, 2006 at 11:47 pm

    So awesome. I loved reading that. Both because it was funny and interesting, and also because my husband is from the burbs outside of the burgh. (Hopewell, out past the airport.) If you blog a Primanti brothers visit, I might weep.

  5. Amy said,

    August 5, 2006 at 12:38 pm

    The way you described everything gave the pictures a real lift. Thanks for the storytelling!

  6. Stepherz said,

    August 5, 2006 at 10:25 pm

    I laughed by butt off on this post, especially the part about the old lady who thieves clothing. Love it! And it’s pretty cool to get a visual on your surroundings.

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