I have a problem. A laundry problem. A co-tenant in my apartment who apparently thinks that the laundry belongs to her problem.
Setting the stage here.
This is a 7 unit building with 6 units using the same washer/dryer. And there is only one set. So, in order to efficiently get all our laundry done, we have to think about everyone else. There’s a reason there are so many “Laundry Etiquette” posts on the internet. It’s a problem.
When I was in my old building, I did my laundry at 8am every Saturday morning. When I moved to this building, I tried to do the same, only to be told by Sue (changing the name to protect the guilty) that she does all her laundry on Saturday and sometimes it leaks into Sunday. She does anywhere from 4 to 8 loads at a time every week.
Right away, there is something wrong with this. Most of the people here work the day shift and yet one person can “reserve” the whole weekend for her laundry. Even though we all have laundry to do.
Then I figure out that “Sue” isn’t even doing her laundry efficiently. She’ll abandon the laundry for over an hour. An hour I could have been in there getting my one load done!
To my mind, this is the height of laundry inconsideration.
But, in an effort to be nice, I adjusted.
Then the pandemic came, and she changed to day to Tuesday.
I adjusted again.
Then, two days ago, I go to do my laundry and she’s taken over the laundry again. She’s abandoned her laundry. I do the Laundry Etiquette thing of waiting for 20 minutes for her to come deal with her laundry. I go back out with my laundry, but no, still abandoned. I decide to still try to be nice and just put my laundry basket in line, a way of saying “I’m next!”. And I go for my 15-minute walk.
I get back and Sue is climbing the stairs back up to her apartment. I go into the apartment building to find that she has started another load. Cut in front of me, again!
I slam the door shut.
She looks over the railing.
I yell “I’m next!”
Then we get into it.
First, it was the “We’ve had this conversation before, and you know that I need to get all my laundry done at once and if I let people cut in then I won’t get it done.”
Then, it was “We had such a nice birthday gathering. I can’t believe this.”
Finally, it was “I ALWAYS DO ALL MY LAUNDRY ON TUESDAY!”
It was Thursday.
Even though I hate that she hogs the laundry like this, if she would just pick a day and stick with it, I could accept it. But now she’s taking over the laundry on other days as well!
No One Is Perfect
I really want to lay into her over her selfishness and inconsideration. But no one is perfect.
I’m doing something questionable in my unit.
I have a voice over booth and plan to do voice over from home most of the time. I keep checking in with the people living above me because I don’t want to disturb them. I’m paranoid something will happen that makes it impossible to do my work. I’m not working right now, and I need to get something going here.
So far, they seem to be okay with me. But I don’t want to test that. Karin doing her voice exercises, Karin doing her singing, and Karin morphing into an effeminate evil male character bent on destroying humankind could be taxing for some people.
I try to be cognizant.
And it makes me more accepting that I actually want to be.
The adult version of Karin is relatively understanding. I read a lot of psychology and sociology books in an effort to figure all these human proclivities out.
When I was younger, I used to think that everyone was smarter, better, and superior to me. Once I opened my eyes and started really looking at people, I realized that there was no such thing as “superiority”. I’m not superior to anyone on this planet. And there isn’t a soul who is superior to me. This was disconcerting because it was soothing to think that I could get healthy and be “normal”. Shit, I’m the sanest person I know, and I’m not sane.
My inner child is not so understanding. Like all children, she thinks in polarities, either/or thinking. She thinks there are direct causes to things. Like since I was an unwanted child, it must be my fault. She is the core of my insecurities. And she gets triggered really easily.
When Sue hogs the laundry like that, and expects me to be understanding and comply with her needs, my inner child hears:
“I’m the most important person in this building. You don’t deserve to do your laundry because I’m more entitled to it that you are because you’re just a worthless, inferior person and I’m better than you.”
And my inner child takes over and I lose it.
My adult knows that it’s probably the opposite. It’s Sue who feels inferior, that’s why she’s acting this way. She needs outside validation. Getting the building to make her the Queen of the Laundry is just something to make herself feel better.
I had a long conversation with my inner child yesterday trying to explain this. (Yes, I see her as separate. I can feel her looking out my eyes sometimes. She makes decisions. She’s the one who wanted this apartment in the first place!) But she doesn’t really understand. She’s only little. It’s not her fault.
She’s 3 going on 4.
I have no idea how to heal an inner child. What I do know is that Sue has an uncanny ability to trigger her.
Back to Laundry
I am trying. I’m trying very hard to be understanding.
This isn’t the only thing Sue does that triggers my inner child. Sue also believes it’s okay to destroy family businesses in riots and that taking a truckload of bricks to the home of a politician and threaten their family, their children, is not a violent act.
I don’t understand her. And my inner child sees her as a threat. After all, if it’s okay destroy property and threaten people, what’s to keep her from throwing a brick through my window? Or worse?
So, I keep trying. But it’s exhausting.
I think the next time I see Sue I’m going to offer a compromise:
“Sue, you pick a day and I’ll stay away from the laundry on that day. If, for some reason, you have to do your laundry on another day then, if I need to do my one load, I can get in there.”
I think that’s fair. I still don’t like the hogging, but I can live with this solution.
What do you think?