This Stupid, Silly Brain Of Mine
On Saturday we decided to do our big bag of laundry. In that bag, lay weeks upon weeks of laziness. So it was definitely time to get the washing done. It was a normal Saturday afternoon for these pandemic times at least. The sky was bright and everyone was six feet apart. The only odd thing, I thought, was that it was a bit chilly for a day in May in NYC. Nonetheless, the day was as normal as it could get.
My brain was pretty quiet. No crazy thought was playing out. I wasn’t panicking about my next move in life; I wasn’t thinking about how disappointing I’ve turned out to be. It was quiet and calm and I was paying no mind to it. I was simply going with the flow of the day.
Usually when we go to the Laundromat we set the clothes to wash and we go back home and wait. After about twenty minutes have passed, we walk back to the Laundromat and set the clothes to dry for forty-eight minutes. We walk back home and wait some more.
While we wait, my brain is still pretty quiet, watching ‘Community’ and happily stalking the beautiful art I run across Instagram: some bright, some dark, and others in between.
6pm finally rolls around, and by this time my brain is a little more active, thinking about positive thoughts mixed-in with a hint of negativity. The art I run across on Instagram has inspired me to create a zine about something or another, and I can feel the excitement bubbling up inside me. But I begin to feel as if I don’t have enough talent to bring to life what I see in my head. The colors inside me begin to die a little— I wish I was more artistically inclined or as good as the artists I see on social media.
We’re now walking back to the Laundromat to pick up weeks of laziness. In the Laundromat I see a few new faces; a man loudly talking about the working hours of the place, and a woman who waits quietly in front of the dryers. We find our dryers numbers 9 and 10. As we open the first dryer, I can feel the lady’s eyes on us. I glance up and I find her curiously staring at us and looking away at once. This puts my brain on edge.
Is there something on my face? Do I have something on my clothes? Am I dirty? During this lockdown I barely have it in me to shower. Sometimes I even forget to brush my teeth. I wake up, make coffee, and create something to fill the void of not working. To make me feel like I’m at least doing something with my life, growing, moving forward, learning something new, doing some soul searching— something.
I think back to last week. I remember walking by the Laundromat from Dollar General where I buy the essentials for the house, and I see a flyer. A man was caught on camera stealing clothes from the dryers. This has now given my brain adrenaline.
For a strange reason I feel guilty, like I should be put in handcuffs and hauled off to the slammer. For what? I don’t know.
The hairs on the back of my head are prickling. Goosebumps are beginning to come out from hiding, forming a layer over my skin. I feel cold yet hot. I can feel a pair of eyes burning a hole on my back. I glance up and the lady is still staring.
While this pandemic is happening, we aren’t allowed to fold clothes in the Laundromat. This is to avoid too many people from gathering together and spreading the virus further. So we are now standing in front of the dryer with the door wide open. “Where’s the laundry bag?” I begin to look for the laundry bag to put our weeks of laziness in so we can run home and avoid the virus like the plague. “Where the hell is the laundry bag?” I glance up nervously and I can see the lady staring. Her curiosity is growing bigger.
Instead of taking the clothes out from the dryer and dumping it in a cart to look for the bag with more precision, we are digging around the heap of clothes inside the dryer. Now I become hot and I open the bottom dryer. “Maybe it’s in here.” I continue excavating for the famous laundry bag. The lady now looks nervous and I feel like I was just caught stealing a car; she stares with suspicion.
“Finally” we have found the laundry bag. We begin to stuff the clothes into the bag. Faster and faster under the scrutinizing stare of this woman. I feel like I’ve done something wrong, like I stole a pack of cigarettes from the corner store. The woman suddenly seems to be more alert and gets close to us. It seems she is taking a mental note of the numbers on our dryers. My heart starts pounding really fast as I think 'Let’s get the hell out of here!'
Finally, heaving our big laundry bag of weeks of laziness out of the Laundromat we begin our journey back home. My brain is sweating, borderline bleeding a little. As we are walking back home all I could think about was the woman staring at us with disapproval. I got an image of her running to the worker and telling him that a man and a woman just finished stealing clothes from the dryer. My heart pounds harder at the thought of this and soon I begin to hear imaginary police sirens chasing after us to get their hands on the overstuffed laundry bag and to put the perpetrators away.
We finally get home and my least favorite part of laundry begins—the folding! DUN DUN DUN! As I fold the clothes all I can think about is how I overdramatized everything in my head AGAIN. How silly was it of me to feel guilty, to feel like a criminal over something that wasn’t really occurring? I had done nothing wrong. It was all in my head.
The lady wasn’t really looking at me. In fact, I think she began to stare because I kept glancing over and that alone made me look suspicious, maybe even a little unstable. I bet she didn’t really care what was happening in my world. I bet she wasn’t even looking at the numbers on our dryers but instead she was looking at the time on her dryer to see how far along her drying was. I don’t think she gave two shits about our presence. Honestly, I don’t think many people care about what you’re doing. Everyone is too concerned with their own lives to care.
This stupid, silly brain of mine is always on overdrive, plagued with an anxiety that won’t shake.
Written By: Solansh Moya
©Alchemy & Elegy 2020