Cashing in and cashing out

It was a hot Monday afternoon, just getting home from an inspection day in Sanford. The day was humid, yet it was clear and beautiful perfect to go for a ride on my motorcycle. I had though to help with the house laundry and went to my neighborhood laundromat to use their dryers. Our dryer broke several months ago and we haven’t come around to replace it. We think it’s cheaper to wash at home and dry the clothes in their bigger, more efficient commercial dryers. Well, I got there carrying my laundry; it was slow traffic at this time of the day with plenty of dryers to choose from and very few people. I said hi to the attendant, an Asian woman who attends to the maintenance and regular operations of the place. She and her husband own the establishment and come about three times a week to keep up with the popular spot in the Pine Hills area. Open 24 hr. Convenient and inexpensive, this laundromat has been serving the neighborhood for long time and I like it being so close to my house. I didn’t mind waiting for my laundry; it allows me to slow down and mingle with other Pine Hills residents, so I sat there and waited, looking outside and occasionally to the TV set on the wall.

Across from the laundromat is a pawn shop cornering a slowly fading shopping mall. I’ve seen, even been there before  while waiting for my laundry in earlier occasions, browsing aimlessly through their shelves for any gadget or thing you can imagine. I observed people coming in and out of the shop. Some empty-handed, other carrying things, obviously to pawn or things they just bought. I saw people pulling over in their vehicles getting things out of their cars and taking them inside.  Some coming inside with items and walking out empty-handed and others vice-versa.  People cashing out, pawing for cash or selling their goods. Others seek opportunity buying things relatively cheaper than new. It is a business that will never fade, cashing in on people who need money, forfeiting their valuables for some quick cash because people need cash and need it now. I saw a nice car pulling in and out steps a well dress guy followed by a posse of four others. The car appears to be an expensive model yet I noticed that its wheels were not its original but a set of four spare tires, small and thin. It was even comical to see this car, shiny black with a formidable look except for its tiny looking wheels and flimsy tires. An insult to the car itself I’m sure; if the car could talk would have expressed its dismay and humiliation to its class let alone how unsafe it looks to drive this car.  I wonder what could have happened to the car’s wheels and why do this to a nice car like this one, now an awkwardly looking ride. Out of the shop came out the group again with a new guy which I assumed was an employee. The driver, I supposed also the owner, opened the trunk and the employee looked inside. I could not hear their conversation as I was pretty far away, but I could see the whole thing very clear. The employee looked at the owner, shook his head, the owner talked. His body gestures and face expression indicated to me that he needed to sell whatever was in the trunk, but not because he wants to, because he has to. His face expression was of worry, his body matched with a hint of desperation. The two friends helped pull a small trunk of what I recognized as a carrying case for audio-visual or electronic equipment.  The owner opened the trunk and the employee’s unconcerned face took a change of interest.  After what it seemed like a long time observing the inside of the trunk, he looked at the owner, said something, the owner paused lower his head and nodded sealing an agreement for the transaction they just made. I saw it as an opportunity for the pawn employee, adding to their inventory a piece of equipment which I have no doubt it was valuable, at least for the owner. The man had to take the offer because he needed the money to pay bills I assume, to make ends meet, perhaps? Either way the deal was done. Maybe he pawned the equipment just for a short time, maybe until things gets better and he can repay and get his equipment back or maybe he had to sell  it for good and take the losses, giving up a valuable piece of equipment for way much less than he paid for I’m sure. The house won that day, I concluded and another one bites the dust, on merit because it had to be done, I guess but not the way he expected. A little while later I saw the men get inside the car and drove off. I watched as the car with its tiny wheels rolls out and now I know what could have a happened to those wheels. They are probably inside of the pawn shop as well, already cashed out.