Thursday, November 12, 2009

Crazy Launderette Lady

The joys of working from home include being able to get little odd bits of housework done during the work day. That one is able to do chores during the day doesn't, of course, mean that they actually get done. The last 2 weeks I have been disgracefully neglectful of my regular houseworky tasks, but we had a guest (my brother), so I excused myself.

Since he left yesterday, I have no more excuses not to be a proper domestic, other than malaise or laziness, I went to the launderette with a pile of laundry. It's right around the corner so I can take things over there and then come home and, theoretically, get some work done.

Launderettes are funny places - a really public place full of complete and total strangers watching you literally air your underwear. Kind of like being on an airplane: one would never, ever sit that close to a complete stranger in any other setting. If you both go to sleep, you're probably sleeping closer to them, proximity-wise, than you might with your significant other. You see a different side of a person when you see them in these sorts of situations, such as at the launderette. A side that perhaps might otherwise be only seen in the home. The sweatpanted, messy haired, trashy magazine reading, grumpy side. One is completing a household chore that most people aren't particularly fond of, in a public sphere. In short, often one is often at their worst at the launderette.

This morning's experience was no exception. I went to switch the load from the washer to the dryer*. I had a woman literally shove the laundry cart at me. Apparently I had left the offending cart in front of her dryer.

"Are you done with this?"


"Then get it out of my way."

And she pushed the cart, quite forcefully, in my direction. I had to catch it, to avoid it running into me. I looked at one of the other patrons, to gauge her reaction to this behaviour, just in case I had misread hostility when there was none. The other patron looked as shocked as I felt.

Part of me wanted to say something like, "Yeah. I knew that was your dryer. That's why I purposely left my laundry cart in front of it. In fact, I wasn't even in here doing laundry, I was just in here specifically to put a laundry cart in your way, to inconvenience you, yes, you specifically."

I didn't though, because my statement would have been an effort to convince her that not every red light or stubbed toe was because someone else was so obsessed with her that they went out of their way to ruin her day, but had I said that, it probably would have contributed to her current self absorbed world view rather than forcing her to question it.

Of course that is an awful lot of assumptions to make on my part. I am assuming that people don't want to be the kind of person that shoves laundry carts at strangers, when in fact, this may have been working for years, cultivating that specific part of her personality as a trait she values and admires.

*we used to dry things at home, on lines we strung up in our living room. But then the house started molding, so we had to stop.

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