Here I sit in a laundromat for the first time in probably 20 years. I was wondering what to write about and realized that there is a lot right here. Having my own washing machine (when it is working) must, on a global scale, put me in the top 1% socio-economically. Who knows? Maybe it puts me in the top 1% of the top 1%. In any case, it means that I (a) can do my laundry while comfortably doing something else and (b) don’t spend an hour or two at a time with people whose lives are miles from mine, some of whom are clearly struggling in today’s world.
The first person I saw just outside the doors as I approached was a man with a crutch drawing on a cigarette as if his life depended on it and calling out repeatedly “Schatzi” (“Honey”) to no visible person. I walked in and found a short, dumpy woman dressed in black, looking like a completely disoriented nun. It took me a minute or two to realize that this was “Schatzi” as there didn’t seem to be a bond between them. Since then there has been a rather angry looking young man, possibly of Turkish origin, a group of giggly young women (a breath of fresh air), and now a family (Polish?) with two little children.
I suspect that a few years ago I would have been challenged by this situation–what must they think of me, is it safe, and so on? And, although I would rather be at home, I am able to appreciate this glimpse into how other people live and this chance to, quite frankly, practice curiosity.