If you have sensitive ears, don’t read any further. Though this conversation was overheard (or rather, passively participated in) in a public laundry room, it is not suitable for everyone. And my telling it forces me to dive far below my normal level of verbal decency. However, I felt it was a tale worth telling.
I went about my bi-weeklyish laundry ritual this afternoon. Usually this time of day the laundry room is empty. However, today, I had a companion.
It started out as a normal I-don’t-know-you-but-I’ll-be-friendly “hello”. I’m a strong advocate for those sort of hellos, so I fired the first shot. She replied as one normally would, with a “Hi, how are you.” I politely ignored this request for information, wishing to convey that I had a job to do, and started sorting and loading my clothes into the washer.
Then behind me I hear a sound. What is this? A conversation starting with me as the recipient? Why, I don’t recall giving you permission to engage me in conversation miss fellow laundryroom person. Fine, I will parlay, though whilest pretending to be far more engaged in my laundry task than is normally required.
Unfortunately, these first few words are lost in nothingness, for my brain had tagged them as inconsequential blabbering and thus set them for immediate deletion. However, the first word I *did* hear and remember clearly was not something I should mention here. Suddenly less interested in my clothes, I stopped really sorting them at all. Fully engaged now, my brain started recording the conversation.
For about five minutes she talked to me about her relationship with her recently ex-ed boyfriend, involving several details about sexual acts and practices.
That’s some serious stuff to throw on a stranger. All the while I’m loading the clothes in the washer about as quick as I can without ripping collars and pocket rings, hoping to get out of there as fast as possible. Then, as I’m loading the last bit she asks me a question (up until now the only I’d said was hello): Do you know how I could get this stain out?
Believe you me, I had the same thought as you – and my immediate instinct was leave the clothes and high-tail it out of there! However, against the activation in my frontal lobe, my primal cortex forced me to look at the object of her query. Phew. Just a backpack that looked to be splattered with something brown. Maybe blood. At least it’s not what I thought it’d be.
I tell her I have no clue how to get that stain out, ram the quarters in the slot, and head quickly back to my humble abode, all the while thanking the powers that be that I don’t have to stay in the laundry room with her and read a magazine or something.