I thought long and hard before I decided it was a good idea to tell you about something that happened to me about a week ago. Right off the bat, I see that it makes me look stupid, but after much consideration I'm fairly certain that lots of people know that I have a talent for getting myself into uncomfortable situations (also situations that show off my lack of healthy mental activity). Here goes.
I am very content with my laundromat. Also, I am a creature of habit, so even if I hated the laundromat, I would continue to use it. It's about, hmmm...maybe 6 blocks from my house. I put my wet, washed clothes into my grocery cart-thingy and roll them to the laundromat to dry them. I throw the clothes and some coins into the machine and off it whirs, at which point I usually just bask in the glory of the crazies who are hanging out there for a few minutes before taking the nice, chilly walk home while listening to 'a prairie home companion' on the 'ol ipotty. This laundry situation works for me.
A couple of weeks ago I returned home from visiting my friend in Brussels to find my three men eagerly telling me about the NEW laundromat which is only ONE block from the house. I've got to be honest, I didn't feel good about it. I mean, it was new....and ummm....yeah. I don't like "new", but I relented and said we could try it out.
The next day Roel and I threw a couple of loads of wet stuff into the shopping cart-thingy and made the short trip down to the NEW laundromat. I was uncomfortable from the first moment.
The place was clean, too clean. The machines were new, too new. The worst part, though, was that there was a monster-sized machine that you had to PROGRAM your loads through. Buttons to push, decisions to make, a card to swipe. This was all too much for me to take in. A few moments later a very kind gentleman approached us and asked if we'd like him to explain how this high-tech laundry situation worked. Roel and the nice orthodox Jew babbled away in flemish and I stood there staring at the giant machine in horror.
This was not my laundromat.
After the men were done talking, Roel attempted to explain to me how the monster, I mean machine worked, but I just couldn't understand. Roel asked me if I wanted to leave and of course I did, but I didn't want to offend the nice man who ran the place. Roel, who was obviously becoming a bit irritated with me at this point said we should go, and go we did. I just felt more comfortable at my own laundromat with my own coin-drop system. So I took my laundry from Roel and made my way, alone, to the other laundromat.
It was as I reached the corner that I heard some shouting behind me (which is amazing since I had the news from lake Wobegon blasting in my ears). I tuned to see the man, his long black coat flying in the wind like enormous wings racing up to me.
"I just wanted to know" he said "why you are not choosing to use my laundromat"
"I'm not really good with machines" I said "They confuse me"
There was a look of pity in his eye. He sucked in his breath.
"But my new machines will get your clothes much cleaner"
He wasn't selling me.
"I'm technology-challenged" I mumbled.
"well, ok" he said and turned and walked away as I yelled "sorrryyyyy"
I felt horrible. I felt GUILTY.
I went to my laundromat, threw my clothes in. Lake Wobegon wasn't holding my interest. I returned home and plopped down on the sofa. I told Roel the whole story topping it off with a:
"The guy is God's chosen people, I should TOTALLY have used his laundromat"
Roel rolled his eyes at me.
So, I'm still going to my tried and true coin-op six blocks away. I still feel terrible though. In my own defense, that machine was really intimidating.