Loneliness of Convenience

26 10 2009

I had fun at the laundromat today. Our washer has been broken for a couple of weeks and I was forced to do laundry outside of the comfort of my home. I took a few books along to keep me company, anticipating a rather uneventful time. As I proceeded to fill the washers, a man dressed in a full suit of camo started talking to me about how he watched a Disney animation for two hours while eating cereal. I responded politely, not really knowing what to say or unsure if I wanted to continue the conversation. Turns out he was the guy working that shift at the laundromat and next, he proceeded to show me a joke pic of the side effects of swine flu. It was a crude picture to say the least. While waiting for my clothes to dry, another lady, who also worked there, joined our conversation. She asked me if I was in college. The conversation shifted to me being in seminary and how she was also involved in a rehab organization near Temple. The three of us joked around a little, and chatted until I had to fold my clothes. I said my farewell to them and on the way out, a thought struck me. In the beginning, it was rather uncomfortable listening to their stories trying to carry on the conversation. I just wanted to stick to my book and read. But by the end of my mini escapade, there was very little sense of discomfort. I thought to myself, “Maybe I’ll come back once in a while even when our washer is fixed.” I realized that my laundry time, when conveniently done at home, was a very lonely time. Apart from the benefit of knowing my neighborhood and neighbors better, the inconvenience of the laundromat gave me momentary community. Maybe this is also the experience taking public transportation as opposed to commuting in your own car. The former you can sense a community (although I do acknowledge people rarely talk on the train or bus) and the latter, you have independence and maybe a little loneliness.

Technology, our culture, and our society continues to move towards developing better conveniences, better lifestyles that build our independence and comfort, but at the expense of our community… Facebook/Twitter communication over meeting up, texting someone over hearing their voice, playing video games over the net instead of going to the neighborhood arcade with friends. More and more our human interactions seems more distanced and more infrequent. Yes, community is inconvenient. When you have it, it’s an in-your-face type of lifestyle. But that lifestyle is… oddly nostalgic that you want to come back and get more of it.

Going to the laundromat is inconvenient… but I had fun today, maybe I’ll go back.



3 responses

27 10 2009

one of my favorite memories from wp06 is going to the laundromat and getting to interact with the neighbors. 🙂

i like this post.

27 10 2009

yeah.. i’ve realized that i need to seek the discomfort.. and like you said, it does go away.. and a relationship (or the potential of one) is formed. i love how that works.

28 10 2009

dude, i used to hang out every weekend at the laundromat because our dorm w/d were sucky. got in touch with my mexicoreano roots there hehe

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