Tuesday, February 05, 2008

folding laundry.....and Britney.

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself folding clothes in a laundromat after I somehow managed to melt some kid's snowpants to the back of the inside of my dryer. The zipper on his coat jacket turned to a hard mass of plastic glob. I had good intentions........a bunch of boys in the house after heavy duty sledding..........I threw their wet stuff into the dryer while they warmed up and had a snack. 20 minutes later, we all smelled the very recognizable odour of melting man made materials...........by then it was too late. Turns out I stuffed the dryer too full and the air vents were covered.
Can I say that this is yet another example of Murphy's Law? If one manages to melt a kid's winter attire in one's dryer, it will always be the kid whom you don't know that will be the one affected. Nice way to introduce yourself to the kid's MOM too.

"Hi, you don't know me but.......................I'm the airheaded mother who........" Oh, and let me add that this child was the best friend of the kid who lives across the street whose Dad thinks he has the right to judge all others as below his standard of approval?? GREAT! I normally get a look of disdain.......you know the one where the person's face looks like it had sucked about 10 lemons........whenever our paths cross during gardening season?? You know that type? I don't really take it personally because he throws it at most of our neighbours...... I just try to avoid having conversations with him. And I really try to avoid conversations with him that begin with...

"GEE, _________ I completely fucked up by melting your son's bestfriends snow gear to the back of my dryer. Can you send the mom over when she comes to pick up her son so I can square it up with her? By the way, any new plans for the garden this spring?"

So........once that was admitted to, profusely apologized for, and resolved with only a bucketful of leftover remorse to deal with...........I found myself alone with a dryer with hardened bits of nylon and plastic stuck to the inside dryer drum. I got down on my butt, stuck my head in the dryer and began to scrape it off, only to realize that the little bits were flying through the once obstructed airholes and settling in with a pile of accumulated lint behind the back of the drum. The alert light went on in my head.......potential fire hazard.....beep,beep,beep....... (obviously this light in my head was shorting out only an hour before when I shoved 4 jackets and snowpants and a bunch of mitts and hats and scarves into it without blinking.........doh).

At this point, I'm paranoid and begin wondering just how much lint has nestled in the back of a dryer which owes us NOTHING as it is a gift from God that it still works..........and then I begin to wonder how much lint has accumulated through the whole venting system. By the time my imagination takes complete control over an otherwise sane human being (that would be me), I have decided that the dryer is completely off limits until we can get the back of the drum unscrewed and pulled out and scrubbed down........until we suck out the lint etc......

But, we can do this on our own, cant we?? Apparently not.

Special bolts require special friends with special tools..........enter our handyman friend who lives in the neighbourhood and who was in need of empty wine bottles for his homemade hooch........He just happened to phone at the right moment, for me not him. We arrange a modern day barter thing.........empties for bailing us out AGAIN. I mean, he's ALWAYS looking for wine bottles. Such a pain in the butt he is. er.........actually....... i'm sure he hesitates to call this house for fear of what request I have..... I do offer him a gift from time to time..... a good laugh.
So......the back of the drum of the dryer was taken off, scrubbed and the whole area was delinted. Easy? SHOOOOOOUUUURE..........that part was. What wasn't was being able to put it all back together after the whole drum slipped and nothing could be aligned. A phone call to the dryer fixer guy......the one who gets paid for dealing with zealous mothers who are trying to be nice by drying all the neighbourhood kids snowgear all at once...........the earliest visit?? 2 weeks.

Hence...........finding myself folding clothes early one Sunday morning at the laudromat. However, because of my screw up, this is what I learned:

Most laundromats look and smell the same. And, I love the scents of mountain fresh, after the rain, sunshine softness, blossoming meadow, citrus essence, spring anew combined together. It smells of goodness and memories for some reason.
Using the large industrial dryer which safely holds two loads of laundry and dries it all under an hour for a measley 2 bucks is WAY more cost efficient.

Folding clothes is a chore I don't mind doing.
Interesting people use the laundromat before 9 am on a Sunday morning. Friendly too.
The most profound learning that morning was that Britney Spears has my complete empathy. Until then, I had glossed over the many stories of Britney's spiralling life seeing them as one incident at a time and not a series of unrelenting cries of a very ill young woman.

On the TV bolted up in the corner of the laundromat was a review of the last couple of years, one incident after another with gory commentary from drooling media types who are sliming their way to being famous for being there during one of this poor woman's episodes. I was only half paying attention until then. All of a sudden I was struck by the plight of a mentally ill human being, vulnerable and broken, collapsing in front of our eyes.

And it continues doesn't it? This week as she is struggling behind closed doors while the pirhannas swim hungrily waiting for her to show her sad face again, I wonder if she will make it? I care about whether Britney Spears makes it. I care about the treatment she has received, about society's role in perpetuating the insatiable thirst for celebrity drama. I care about whether her plight will turn a corner and allow her to find her way without the flashing cameras and psychological intrusions.
She may be the cause of some of her situation.........but who really cares about that at this point? I just hope this talented beautiful human being makes it, and finds the loving trusting support she will need to live a life of freedom and piece of mind. She's one of us.


Tori said...

I love the laundromat and I am so so glad that you wrote about Britney. My heart has been heavy for her and I am wanting so badly for this young women to be able to get the help she needs. I love the illustrations!

Awareness said...

Tori. Everyone I've talked to about her (she seems to come up in many conversations doesn't she?)feels the same way. Maybe society is realizing that we are at fault for some of these outcomes. I don't know. But, I do hope she makes it too .comes back brighter and stronger

Shaz said...

I wouldnt wish her turmoil on my worst enemy its all rather sad.
But OMG Your on a roll arent you I am a terrible person for laughing but I cant help it.

BreadBox said...

Laugh? Or cry?
Lovely story: and now it's written down for the ages! I love the conversations:-)

And I think that the media is coming round to the same point of view on Ms Spears right now, realising that there is a an awful medical reason she is so fscked up.

Awareness said...

Shaz.....I'm glad you laughed! It was my intention. I'm also glad you could see yourself doing the same snowgear melting thing. :)

Hey N! I was channeling Erma Bombeck. :)
It does seem like the media is realizing the severity of her mental health issues. However, they will continue to hunt her down until they push her over the brink. I dont know what the regular folk can do about it.....Britney's story sells papers, advertising time, ups the ratings on ET etc, etc....
And the whole Dr. Phil intervention.....how sick was that??

Open Grove Claudia said...

For about 5 years, I worked with felony offenders in a drug and alcohol treatment program. We worked with a model of "moral development". Based in maslow's ideas, the first level of moral development was cause and effect.

It's amazing.

A lot of people have absolutely no idea about cause and effect. They estimate that something like 80% of the prison population is at this developmental stage.

Why is this a problem? Because people who are at this level cannot understand rules. They just can't comprehend them.

When you sit down with these folks, they truly do not understand that what they do has an effect. It would blow your mind.

to me? That's what's happening to Britney. She has no idea about cause and effect.

Anyway, you are kind to care.

Barbara said...

LOL - great story. I hope it all turns out okay. I do feel sorry for Brit no matter what causes her to be the way she is - its sad.

Awareness said...

Claudia...interesting story....i find the same with the majority of clientele i work with....it's an arrested development kind of thing, all tied in with the inability to critically think, process and problem solve. There's also a vicitimization flavour to it as well. I delivered a workshop last week on emotional intelligence, which actually touched on some of this.....these skills can be taught. It's not because of some developmental delay (at times it is and at times it's sociopathic ie. borderline personality disorder which is very prevalent in the prison pop.). For the most part, I see it as a missed lesson. With Britney, the girl never had to be responsible or think for herself. She lived in a land of handlers and hangers on. Cause and effect. Actions and consequences were never addressed. She was a princess who could do and say anything and all would be looked after. how frigging sad and pathetic is that? And yet we see it time and again with the Hollywood types. The same can be said about Paris, Lindsay, etc....... and it does seem much more prevalent when the famous person became famous as a kid.

Having said ALL of that, I believe Britney is mentally ill as well. It's beyond not knowing cause and effect. Her behaviour indicates serious bi-polar disorder, and I'm wondering if she has a psychotic break. Something pretty serious must've happened to allow the medical community to commit her for another 2 weeks.

Layla....it is very sad. I agree. Hopefully she has the support around her. Others have pulled out of messes like this and moved on....am thinking of Robert Downey Jr. whom I sure struggles daily with his demons and his bi-polar disorder. It can happen. Claudia's right too......Britney needs to learn some important life skills in order to be able to cope independently.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What a horror story about your dryer and another horror story in this poor girl Brittany.....On our local news late this afternoon..They showed her being descended upon by the Paparazzi....Like Flesh Eatiung Locusts, they are....I think that is not only horrific but incredibly dangerous, too....I thought they had passed some kind of ordinance that said these people have to stay so many feet away from her as well as other celebities...But it sure didn't look like it from what they showed today....So, she is no longer in a safe place away from The Locusts....I fear that something really bad is going to happen to someone because of the the Paparazzi-Locusts...This poor girl needs to be spirited away someplace really safe where NO one knows where she is...And where she can get the help she needs.

Awareness said...

Hi Naomi. I saw a film clip on the news this morning showing her car being swarmed yesterday by the paparazzi scum. I've never seen it so agressive and unrelenting. How do those sickos sleep at night?

I am also afraid of what will happen to her. I don't understand why they released her from the hospital a week early....it must of been her doing?

She does need to hide out someplace private and safe for a while......but it seems like their isn't a spot in the whole world that would fit that category for her.

paris parfait said...

Oh my goodness, talk about a good intention setting off a chain of unfortunate events! As for BS, it's a sad thing - apparently she was released from hospital (what was that doctor thinking) and immediately the photographers swarmed on her car, like vultures. The woman needs to be in a hospital or clinic for a long time to get better. It makes me ill how the photogs are so desperate for money; how people use her for her money and connections; how her own parents seem strangely absent (until lately). It reminds me of the Romans sending Christians to the lions for entertainment. Seems to me the "celeb-lite" media fringe is just waiting for her to self-destruct. Such a sad, sad commentary about society.