There's a dry-cleaners on our street (it featured in the film of Somerstown as a sign of urban grittiness). It's quite a nice old laundrette, actually, but the woman who runs it is... well, she's a bit strange. My boyfriend uses her a lot (he dresses in things that need cleaning, unlike my attire of cat hair and cardigans). "Funny thing is, everything's 4.99, but she never gives you that penny change," he said.
He sent me in there to pick up a suit and a jacket.
(Sorry, I've just realised I'm writing a post about laundry. Shit. This is an all-time low. Even Babylon 5's last year didn't do stubborn stains)
The woman who runs it looks like Rosa Klebb's slightly-backward sister. I once interviewed her for some vox pops on soap operas and her answers were all "Emmerdale." As in...
Q: What's your favourite soap?
Q: Who is your favourite character?
Q: What do you like most about it?
Q: What's, er, er, er, the funniest thing about Emmerdale?
(and so on). It's why I avoid her if I can. But I couldn't this time. So, I popped in.
Rosa started shouting at me, grabbed the ticket and then, after some squinting, handed me two bright green suits.
I politely told her that they weren't the right clothes. She told me she'd never got it wrong in her life. Although (with much squinting) she did admit she had got the price wrong on the ticket.
"That's because they're the wrong clothes."
"You owe me another ten pounds." she persisted.
"But I don't want those clothes..." (they were very green suits. The kind of suit a jockey would wear to a wedding).
"Well, why did you give them to me if you don't want them?" she snapped.
"But those..." I gestured helplessly at the rail, "Those are the clothes I want."
She squinted, snatched the green suits from me, and then, with great reluctance handed me over the clothes I wanted, peering suspiciously at the ticket.
"Are you sure?"
She took the money from me and then gave me the wrong change. "I don't have the penny," she said.
Undaunted, I took a coat in for her to clean yesterday. She made me write my name down and then started to copy it slowly and carefully. She had problems with my first name.
"What's that say?"
"How do you spell that?"
I wish, I just wish, I had thought of saying "E...M...M...E...R...."