Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Laundry Day Blues - Political Meltdown Version

So yet again my oh so very expensive European dryer has done its every 24 month breakdown and I'm waiting the obligatory two weeks or so it takes the certified manufacturer's repair guy to get here from Maryland. It died last Tuesday in the middle of my post Michigan vacation mountain of laundry.

Meaning I do what I always do when that strangely delicate and finicky dryer decides to break down. I do the wash daily and hang it to dry on my large portable drying rack. There's only one problem doing it this way, actually three problems: sheets, towels and jeans never seem to dry soft enough on the line. Which means one weekly trip to the local laundry mat to dry those three types of laundry.

I don't mind it, really I don't. There's a laundry mat a few miles from the house that is clean, well-maintained and safe. The interior is painted the prettiest shade of light butter yellow and there's a wall paper border with charming prints of clothing hanging on an old fashioned clothesline. Clean folding tables and comfortable chairs, rolling carts and it's clean, very clean. Run by a nice lady that I see almost continually sweeping, mopping or wiping down surfaces. The Diet Cokes are cold in the machine and beckoning me. I like it there.

Even the fact that this takes time away from my day to sit in there with a book and wait for my clothes to dry isn't a big deal. I find those weeks I have to use the laundry mat force me to take a relaxing break and simply read.

Today's drying of the sheets, towels and jeans wasn't quite so relaxing. I had only powered up my Kindle a few moments earlier when someone I'd seen at the church I go to now entered the place. She's older than me, but not by much, perhaps ten years. I noticed as she came into the laundry she didn't look very happy, and like me was toting many laundry baskets of wet clothing. If I had to guess I would say she's another victim of a stubbornly dying dryer.

She looked uncomfortable, nervous even, making her way with her loads of wet clothes to the wall holding the dryers. I noticed she was fumbling with her change, having trouble figuring out how to use the dryer and she'd ignored the notice on that dryer saying it was broken.

The lady stood out from everyone else in there by the mere fact that she wore a knit pantsuit and expensive low heeled pumps. Everyone else was dressed far more casually, a young mother with her baby wearing jeans and a tee. An African American lady in gym wear, a Hispanic in  capris and a tee. A bunch of people I know from the soup kitchen and shelter that were all in jeans and tees. Myself in a loose casual skirt and tee. I know she had to feel so out of place on so many levels.

After a few frustrating minutes ticked by without the lady realizing that this dryer was never going to work she ended up going to the laundry manager to ask for a refund. I didn't hear what was said as I was busy folding sheets, but I did overhear every word of her meltdown as she pushed away from the counter and started ranting about how we were all going to be put in our places once the presidential election happens and Donald Trump is president.

What? Ranting about politics in the laundry mat? Yep and it was embarrassing to sit through. I should have taken video on my Iphone and uploaded it to YouTube as she went around pointing and telling folks off.  No doubt it would have gone viral, like every other ranting nut bar video does.

What did she say? She started off by shouting at the lone Hispanic woman that Trump would be deporting her ass back to Mexico rapido before turning to the others there and telling all of us that The Donald would be kicking our asses off welfare pronto as well.

I don't know if anyone there is or isn't on welfare but by the time she moved on to telling individuals that they shouldn't be having fancy manicures and smart phones on welfare I'd had enough. It felt too much like Fundytown and all the pointing/blaming and shaming that goes on there. When she got to me she was still shouting, this time pointing to my Coach purse, my Kindle, my pedicure in bright turquoise glitter polish and my expensive sandals, telling me I was a 'Welfare Queen'. She made a bunch of Tea Party type statements and wouldn't stop.

Finally I had to say something. I asked her if our pastor, Pastor Randy, would like what she's saying, where was the love for her fellow humans in what she was saying. I hated going immediately to the fundy-shut-the-fuck-up card of mentioning the pastor but I couldn't think what else to say to stop her verbal abuse of everyone in the room. I think it is a hangover of how you handled the public misbehavior by fellow church members in Fundy Town.  It was only at this point that she realized she knew me from church and she shut up finally. I sighed, helped her get her washing into working dryers and explained how to use them.

After talking her off that rant cliff  I realized she's out of her element, her comfort zone of nice white middle class folks and this is her reaction to it, wrong or right. There was more than a touch of white privilege going on too. But I have to say she's not the only older person I've seen lately that loved Donald Trump and loves the idea of throwing people off welfare and deporting all the Mexicans. I have older relatives who've expressed admiration and support from Donald Trump.

Never have I seen a time where people are so divided by race, class and politics. It makes me fear for our future. Very depressing.

But at least I have clean sheets again.


Karen said...

Really! A Coach purse? Why you... person with different tastes than me. :)

Seriously, I agree with you, the number of people who can sit at lunch over a salad grown in California, or a dinner of chicken processed in the Midwest, and rant about "illegals" totally depresses me. The number of people who insist that Welfare recipients are just lazy infuriates me. I have the privilege of knowing a number of good, kind, thoughtful, generous, hardworking people who happen to be poor. They lack the skills, or the health, or the neuro-typical-ness to be successful in this country that eats its own and severely limits all paths of escape from poverty. That they should struggle so is an affront to me, and should be to every USian with a shred of compassion.

I'm sorry your acquaintance lost it. I hope she learns something from the experience.

Karen said...

Another thought though: why would a rational person assume that everyone in a laundromat is poor? There are a lot of reasons for using public laundries. The flaky washer or dryer, something too big to wash at home (like a comforter), an overwhelmed apartment complex laundry room, it could be more efficient to use the laundry near work than use the apartment laundry, one might be on vacation...

Calulu said...

LOL! I should post a photo of my Coach purse because it isn't the traditional "Look at me I have an expensive purse" purse. It is tiny, tan colored leather on a long chain. There is a tiny golden word "Coach" embossed in the leather. I bought it because someone had given me a Coach wallet ten years ago and it held up better than any other wallet I've owned. Hoping the purse does the same! But those ones with the big gaudy C's and wild colors do not appeal to me at all.

The whole designer purse thing is so strange.