Tuesday Morning at the Ashbrooke Laundrette

English Customer: Where is the boss?
I: He’s not in.
English Customer: Where is the boss?
I: I don’t know. Can I help you?
English Customer: I have a lot of dry cleaning, your boss makes me special price, because I’m a special person.
I: If you’re so special, I’m sure you have enough money to pay for it.
English Customer: Your boss is my friend, you understand?
I: Which boss? I have three.
English Customer: The Iranian one.
I: They are all Iranian. What’s his name?
English Customer: I don’t know.
I: Well, you can’t be very good friends then, if you don’t even know his name.
English Customer: You dry clean my stuff, yes? And then I make price with boss, yes?
I: Why are you talking funny?

Monday Morning at the Ashbrooke Laundrette

At work the team chose me as an expert to identify drugs that the boss found in the back yard, and suspected the ‘criminal’ dope smoking neighbours. It was a baggy containing 2 bits of white plastic. When the team and the boss huddled around me I took my time inspecting it, then I held a lighter to the plastic, smelled on it, and duly identified it as parts of a kindersurprise egg.


Today at the laundrette I had a visit from the police. I was really annoyed about this. It was such a trivial thing, and I would rather limit my encounters with the police to more meaningful occasions.

The situation was that 2 months ago, when this drama with the boss and his runaway daughter started, the police turned up and wanted to see the boss. And my colleague Jess said that she didn’t know where he was, and then the police guy said that he wanted to speak to the boy at the back who was doing the ironing. And that was me. He had mistaken me for a boy, because I have short hair (and maybe because I was doing the ironing). My boss thought that it was rude of the police that they called me ‘boy’ and made a complaint. So this is why a community police officer was seeing me today to explain the situation.

I told her that I didn’t feel offended, just a little intimidated by their mafia-mystery manner of their appearance and quest. And that I felt in fact priveledged to be called a boy, because “in our western culture that’s a good thing, because boys are worth more than girls”. And then I went on and told her, that she had to understand that “my boss is a muslim and that in their culture girls are much higher valued than boys, and that therefore my boss thought it was a big deal to call me ‘boy’. It is as if you would call someone, who is a human, a pig.” [giggle giggle giggle].

I had a lot of fun telling her this, and I hope that it kept her pondering all day about values of culture and gender.

And after she left, my boss wanted to know what we talked about, and I told him just this. And he said, that “this is true, muslim girls are really much more privileged than boys”.

Scheiß Liebe

scheiss liebe

It is too late for the corner shop, it is quarter past ten
So I have to go on to Bargain Booze.
A dog walks before me, it’s attached to a man,
And I notice that it poos.
Instead of getting out a doggy poo bag
To pick it up and to dispose of,
The man turns around to to me and says:
“Careful shit love”.

“Oi you,” that’s what I’m about to shout,
“Oi you! That’s so not on!”
But then I hesitate before these words come out
Of my mouth and I walk on dumb.
After all it was nice of him to warn me against
A future I’m undeserving of.
The man had turned around to me and said:
“Careful shit love”.

Continuing my way to Bargain Booze
I ponder on the words the man had said;
Over its implicit philosophic substance I choose
A bottle of cheap dry red.
How great would it be whenever we did something
That our drinking is symptomatic of,
To have someone who turns around to you and says:
“Careful shit love”.

Wednesday morning at the Ashbrooke laundrette

Colleague: You know ISIS, right?

I: Yes. What about it?

Colleague: You know this morning, yeah, on facebook, they said that ISIS is going to kill the Queen on the 15th of this month.

I: Why would they want to do this?

Colleague, after a moment of thinking: They want to take over the country.

I: The only people who would benefit from killing the Queen are the people in the UK. I don’t think anyone from another country would be interested in killing the Queen.

Colleague: You know, I was so scared this morning when I heard about this, that I didn’t want to come to work.

I give her a sceptical look.

Colleague: But, just imagine, what if they killed the Queen, they might kill the King after that!

I am about to tell her that this country hasn’t got a king. Then I realize that it is futile to destroy her fairy-tale illusion.

I: The Queen has no real power. She just shakes hands and wears pretty hats. She does not make the big decisions. If anyone would want to take over the power of this country then they would have to attack parliament… David Cameron or so.

Colleague: Oh. (Pause). Well, they can carry on and kill David Cameron, I don’t like him.