Friday, July 22, 2011

Street Karma at the Laundromat



Daisy says she's been feeling guilty since her Hawaii trip. Guilty she had a good time with her dad. Guilty her parents aren't together. Guilty she fights so much with her little sister. On our walk to the store the other day, she asked me how she could make herself feel better, all things considered.



I did my best to soothe her conflicted loyalty then let her in on the well-known secret that to feel better, all you need to do is be kind. Treat others the way you want to be treated. After a few more cliches on a similar theme, I reiterated YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR PARENTS. Happier days are coming.



Clearly, I was wasting Daisy's time with my dumb-ass advice, "Be kind? I ask you how to feel better about my situation, and you tell me to be nice to OTHER PEOPLE? MOM, YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND ANYTHING ABOUT ME!"



On our way back from the store, a man asked for some change as he passed us on the sidewalk. Juggling groceries and whiny kids, I shot back - not right now. The next block, we caught up to the same man rummaging through the trashcan in front of Burger King. Who am I to say when? I fished a dollar out of my purse and instructed Daisy to deliver it. She hesitated before marching over.



The man, startled, exclaimed, "God bless you, young lady!" Daisy returned to my side with a wide guilt-free grin. Um, who understands A LOT about you?



Now that I think of it, we really should have handed over a few more bucks, because we might be rich in street karma.



Heading to the laundromat last night, I was done with the girls wrestling and screeching like feral cats.  As I pulled into one of the last available spots in the small lot, a woman yelled through my window, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING? ARE YOU HERE FOR LAUNDRY?"



What the hell? I ignored her then went to open the trunk, hoisting several bags of dirty clothes over my arms while shouting at my kids to stop clawing at each other long enough to get out of the car. The lady's tone shifted, "Do you need help?" She was upstaged by a man with a big voice who pulled up on his bike, "That's exactly what I was going to say - can I help you? I might look rough, but I'm nice. I'm a Leo. I was raised by women . . . "



The lady emerged from her car, "I just want to help the laundromat. People have been parking here, and they aren't customers. I don't care if I get beat up. We have to protect our laundry! I can't walk for blocks!"



Oh hello, my unusual friends.



The helper of the laundromat found me later, "I'm sorry for yelling at you. I left two dryers with time in them. I don't know where you are in your process, but when you're ready, use those machines."



Good street karma, what can't it do?



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