The three baskets of laundry had been staring me down for far too long every time I entered my small studio apartment. Working full-time, summer weekend travels, and a new school program that I had recently started were making it difficult for me to get some basic chores done. I decided I would embark on taking all of my dirty laundry to a laundromat considering that my washing machine and dryer combination never actually dried my clothing. Some friends had mentioned a cool sounding laundromat in Northeast Portland that provides you with beer and food while you watch your laundry spin, so I decided to head there.
After getting through the four heavy doors of my apartment, fighting through endless traffic (even though it was 2pm on a Wednesday), I finally made it to the hip laundromat. I piled the three baskets on top of each other like a Jenga pile and hauled them in, only to find that every single washing machine was full and the line was too long to grab any snacks. My thoughts dwindled into a downward spiral of annoyance. I was a bit angry at myself for following just another popular trend. I thought I'd be better off just buying my own snacks and heading to a laundromat close to my apartment. I piled my Jenga tower up again and walked back to the parking lot.
As I started walking back towards my car on the hot summer asphalt, lost in my negative thoughts, I failed to notice a dip in the asphalt. I tripped over the dip and went flying. The three baskets of laundry spewed everywhere and the familiar sting of pain hit my knees, the warmth of blood immediately soaked through my denim jeans. Two ladies to my right were loading laundry into the trunks of their car, looking like they were trying not to burst out laughing, which I couldn't blame them. And then, as if I didn't already feel as if I were in a nightmare, the World's Cutest Man was towering over me.
"Oh my! Are you okay?! I would totally help you gather your stuff up, but I ummm....errrrr, don't want to touch your things...." the World's Cutest Man trailed off, his eyes gazing down to the ground around me. I looked to see what he was looking at and sure enough a trail of my dirty undies were surrounding me in the shape of a crescent moon.
"Ohhhh, thank you, I am just reaaaaallllyyy embarrassed...." I said, picking myself up off of the ground and wiping dirt off of my scraped hands. I started picking everything up in a hurry, trying to speed through the moment as quickly as possible.
"Well hey, just don't let this ruin your day, k?" The World's Cutest Man kindly stated, placing his earbuds back into his ears and continuing on with his day.
The rest of my day was mediocre, I didn't completely do as the World's Cutest Man recommended. I let a few other small things bug me and I kept replaying the embarrassing parking lot scene back in my head throughout the day. I realized that as much as I'd like to believe that I have come a long way in my spiritual growth, my ego was still fully in motion and wanting to run the show. More than my body, that whole scene really seemed to bruise my ego.
Throughout the rest of the day, anytime my mind kept obsessing about it, I kept trying to come back to the present moment. Just as I have learned in meditation, a quick way to fully come in to your body and out of your mind is focusing on touch points and the breath. So, my mind would go back to the embarrassing scene and I would notice where my feet were placed, where my buttocks was and where my hands were. Once I established the touch points of certain body parts, I would notice the cool air in my nostril as I took a breath in and the warm air in my nostrils as I took a breath out.
By nighttime I was feeling very grateful for what transpired in the parking lot of the laundromat. The whole situation just reminded me about how anything can happen to any of us at any moment, accidents happen, things go wrong. Life moves on, but what makes things difficult is when we can't let go of the past. When we obsess and drag past moments into present moments, it ruins the enjoyment of the here and now. In the wise words of the World's Cutest Man, we can't let one seemingly terrible moment take away from seeing the good in the rest of it all and moving forward.
Published by Ilona Lazar