Friday, March 20, 2009

Launderette and Self Absorbtion

Our laundry situation reached a critical mass yesterday when we realised that both of us had gotten to the dregs of our underwear selection. I'd like to say that it was because we had both been sick but I'm sure it's got a lot to do with laziness too - we're fortunate to have a launderette around the corner, but that still is woefully inconvenient most of the time. You can't just toss in a load as you walk out the door.

So yesterday, we went to this particular launderette around the corner and there were 2 girls and a boy, maybe in their early 20's or younger, sitting around in chatting away, loudly but uninterestingly. They had a pile of large, denim covered cushions.

Typically, I ignore other people in the launderette as I would hope they would ignore me. Today was no exception. At one point, however, I turned my head to look at the clock and one of the girls (sweat panted and fake tanned with terrible lipstick and a mess of hair piled on her head) turned directly towards me, made firm eye contact and said this:

"It's okay, we're sisters. We do this all the time."

I said, puzzled,

"Do what?"

This was followed by an awkward moment between us as she made an incoherent mumble whilst struggling with whether or not to tell me what she had mistakenly thought I had overheard. I shook my head to indicate that it didn't matter and went back to stuffing clothes in the machine. Clearly (or at least hopefully) whatever it was that she had been talking about was something potentially embarrassing or incriminating. She wouldn't have been worried about my opinion if it was something as mundane as washing denim cushion covers.

The voyeur in me was curious, despite my better judgment, and I thought about it as we walked home. If I hadn't been working so hard to tune out the sounds of my surroundings - the owner of the establishment inexplicably leaves the radio tuned to John Tesh's horrible radio show "which plays '1980s, 1990s, and today's soft rock' music, interspersed with various factoids and other information Tesh considers useful to listeners, often with topics such as health and well-being" - I might have heard what potentially nefarious act this girl and her sister apparently commit regularly.

I don't care as much today as I did for the 90 second walk home last night, but in addition to wondering what she had to say, I also think it was amusing that she assumed I disapproved of whatever she was doing or talking about. While I realise the pot-kettle implications of talking about self-absorbtion in a personal blog that is singularly about me and what I do on a day to day basis... but it's funny that people often jump to the conclusion that immediate (or really any) situations are automatically personal, based singularly on the fact that they are involved on some level (or maybe not even based on that much - people are pretty insane sometimes).

When I started making plans to move out of the house that I had lived in with my ex-boyfriend, 8 months after I had broken up with him, he became extremely angry with me for asking him to get the remainder of his things out of my garage. I said, during one of our ridiculous phone conversations, "You're acting as though I'm moving out of the house just to inconvenience you." He told me that he believe that to be the case (of course he said it angrily and with a lot more swearing). It was in my reflections on dealing with him that I started to really notice how often people firmly believe that "it's all about them." and what a waste of time that kind of thinking really is. Basically: If people are as self absorbed as you, yourself, probably are, then the chances that their actions are purposely to hurt, annoy or disrupt your life are slim to none.

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