Whereas before I use to do my laundry early in the morning before work at my apartment complex…I now make my weekly trek to the Busy Bee Laundry Mat after work.
As it is…I already get up before 4 AM…and I just couldn’t see my way clear to getting up earlier to get my laundry done. I would have to get up super-mega early…and that just wasn’t going to fly. So with a little shift in my schedule I now find myself at the Busy Bee Laundry Mat each Tuesday after work.
While it wasn’t my first choice…I find there are always enough washers and dryers and I don’t have to fight to find an available machine…or develop my strategic plan to get the next available machine before the next guy. The Busy Bee offers laundry services where you can drop off your clothes and pick them up later in the day…washed, dried and bundled clean and fresh. They charge by the pound. Being that I’m a cheap son of a gun…I’ve never used their service. Perhaps one day I will.
One thing I noticed early on…is how much better the machines at the laundry mat wash and maintains your clothes. While I like the convenience of doing laundry at home…I like being able to get everything done all at once without a struggle for an open machine.
If not interesting…with the cast of characters…it’s at least entertaining. Especially if you’re a people watcher. There are the regulars…ones I see every week. There is the laundry attendant…who is very quiet…but a hard worker. Normally the owners around and taking care of maintenance on the machines…or colleting the coins.
There is one lady that I noticed when I first started doing laundry on Wednesday nights. It’s not unusual that people have the same schedule…so I didn’t think too much about it. That is…until I changed my laundry night to Tuesdays. Much to my surprise this lady was there on Tuesday nights too. That’s when I realized there was something more to this lady than meets the eye.
After observing this lady…I’ve come to the conclusion that she must have OCD…Obsessive Compulsive Disease…she’s a clean freak. She always brings very small batches of laundry….not a full weeks worth like most folks do. Even if she arrives before I do and her laundry is still in the washer…and my clothes are washed, dried and I’m headed home…before she puts her things in the dryer. While I’ve not actually observed it…she must be washing her clothes at least a couple of times. She always carries hand sanitizer and washes her hands multiple times. She always keeps a paper towel handy to use when she has to lift the washer lid or open the dryer door. She will only do so with a paper towel in her hand.
This lady never interacts with anyone. Not customers or employees. She makes no visual contact and never talks to anyone. She is visibly uncomfortable when people get too close to her. Last week when the owner was colleting the coins from the machines…she waited until the last possible moment then moved well out of the way. Nary a word comes from her mouth and she avoids all eye contact. Her eyes are always staring straight ahead.
When I see the women…I think how sad and scary her life must be…and ever so lonely too. But a life of her own choosing. Walls built by fear…help keep everyone away. I do look for opportunities to say “Hi”…but so far she never lets anyone in.
Then there are other folks I encounter…like the young student from the local university. He was studying away while doing his laundry. When I saw his Bible…I just had to chat with him. Being that I consider part of my duties to encourage other believers…it was my pleasure to pass along some CDs from Pastor Chuck Obremski.
A couple of weeks ago I had an interesting and uncomfortable encounter with some intense love struck teenage heartache. A young girl and her boyfriend entered the business. The young man…or should I say boy…was acting quite an intimate fashion towards the girl in a very public place.
At one point she was trying to tell him to leave her along. That she didn’t want to see him any more. She was trying to be sweet and caring while breaking up…but he would not respect her “no”. When their argument grew louder I readied myself to intervene if necessary…or call the police on the young lady’s behalf.
As she exited…the young man followed her…like a puppy…a rather sick puppy. All the while she continued to try and make him understand that she didn’t want to be around him anymore. But he refused to listen.
Before I knew it…she had entered the building again and standing before me. She asked me for money.
Now normally…I have a rather hard heart when presented with this type of request. But this time I saw something different…I saw a quite desperation in her eyes. I asked her if she needed the money to use the pay phone…and she responded “Yes”. I gave her the money as the boy looked at me like I was interfering or worse betraying him…by helping her get away.
I’m a very direct person…and I can’t restrain myself. For good of for bad…I speak my mind. This instance was no different. I told the boy to “leave her alone…back off…give her some space. She doesn’t want to be around you.”
Oh the pain in his eyes…teenage angst. He didn’t have a clue.
A couple of lessons were crystal clear after seeing this episode of teenage love, heartache and angst played out before my eyes.
One thing that was apparent from watching this couple interact from when they first come in the laundry mat…is that these two had been sexually involved. The way he touched her so intimately in a very public place was what you would have expected to see from a married couple at home in their bedroom.
And to the girl…and all young girls…you have no idea the road you are going down when you make that choice, compromise and give yourself away. Give yourself away to someone who doesn’t respect you…and in a few months or a few years now will only know you by derogatory names. The regret that you will feel…will only grow as the years pass by.
I wonder how much her parents are even aware of the road their beloved daughter has gone down. Are they blissfully ignorant of what their baby girl is doing? Or worse yet…are mom and dad divorced sleeping with their latest fling each weekend? Or do they have a live in boyfriend…all the while…setting a wrong example for their young kid.
And now for an observation about the young boy. He was involved with this young girl emotionally up to his eyeballs. That deep emotional involvement is only made worse and exaggerated by sexual involvement.
His passion towards this girl…was almost to the point of scary. I would not have been shocked to see him turn violent towards this girl. Or come back later on with a gun.
As palatable was his pain was…it was also pathetic. He was begging and groveling and wanting to be with this girl who didn’t want to be with him anymore. It was over.
I wanted to yell at him…“Have some self respect young man. Why do you want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you? Even if it kills you inside…walk away. Hold your head up high and walk away.”
There is absolutely nothing attractive about someone begging and humiliating themselves in pursuit of love from someone who doesn’t want to be with them. The picture of that boy will stay embedded in my mind. If ever tempted to cling to someone who has rejected me…I will remember.
So each week is an adventure at the Busy Bee. Whether it is people watching, reading a book, listening to a Dennis Prager podcast…or writing an article it’s an adventure. Rather ordinary at times…but an adventure nonetheless.