today I got the pleasure of meeting the neighborhood mentally ill drug addict. Generally every neighborhood in nyc has at least one. My normal reaction is to observe, make sure they are not posing a true and direct harm to themselves or others and that they are physically ok. If so… I keep it moving.
The problem arises when your disorder clashes with theirs.
Commence laundry story:
I have a routine to both feed and keep my ocd in check when it comes to laundry. I only do linens, towels… All the non clothing when they are all used. I only own enough of each to fill one load of each. I only do a max of three loads at a time, since that’s what I can carry. I got backed up….sir visits and my routine stops, many of them do.
It’s because new routines start.
So I found myself faced with almost 8 loads of laundry. The last two I was doing this morning.
Sunday is not a day I would normally be in a laundrymat but I had to get it finished. It was me, a middle aged guy, 2 Chinese workers, a mother and her teenage son. It’s a small place crowded with carts and bags of drop offs and you have to do the “excuse me” dance to get anywhere.
My clothes just placed in the dryer. I take a seat to get out of the way right next to the middle aged guy…..the door opens….
“All you mother fucking cocksuckers are going die today”. Me and the guy look at each other and in unison say ” oh fucking great.” Then she starts throwing the carts. At this point I have a choice to make, stay next to the only guy of size in the place (that keeps me in her direct path) or…. Move to the back (trapping me with no exit). So the guy makes the choice by going to check his clothes in the back, I follow.
I check and of course since all things mechanical hate me, one of the dryers is stone cold. Her rant and abuse continues and a game of who’s going to loose their shit starts between the others left up front.
Funny side note….all she was washing was one 2dollar wollen hat that looked pretty much brand new. To add to it, she had to buy detergent and had no change. The curses continued, the throwing of the carts continued all as I trying desperately to get sheets folded to perfection. If I don’t fold them a certain way, they don’t fit in the small area I have for them, so my head is about to split when the mother of the teenager looses it. So a battle erupts and her son drags her out of the laundrymat.
A few more people entered and everyone was on edge. It was a battle of, do we call the cops? Ignore it like normal New Yorkers, so I did what I was trained to do….assess the situation. She was clean, her eyes were normal colored, her skin color was good. After a 45 minute outburst, she started asking the workers how much random things were. A new woman told me she saw her do that to the guys in the coffee shop the other day for 3 hours. At least she wasn’t combative and the other woman had left with her son. My laundry finally done, as I left I gave the number of the mobile emergency psych unit to the lady behind the counter and told her to call if she gets worse again. I had already called and told them of the situation so they were not far away and they knew who I was talking about as they’ve had many run ins with her in the past month.
It reminded me of someone I haven’t thought of in years.