The world is full of warnings. Live by them and you lose all joy. But ignore them? At your peril.
We all want stuff that’s harder to explain. Love, mostly. I know this sounds idealistic of me but when my life was at risk – and it has been – I wanted more than just survival. I wanted to survive without doing wrong. Which I believe translates as a desire to be loved, even if only by myself because I get to feel I behaved better than the other kids.
I’ve always quarreled with the idea that survival is our basic instinct. Surely if that were the case, nobody could commit suicide because nobody loved them, or they felt worthless. It may be some people’s. It may even be most people’s. But I’m sure it’s not mine.
Still, a place to call home (or shelter) and some money for food is high on the list – as you can see from this message board outside a Market near a laundromat on the corner of Glassel and Collins in Orange, CA.
Everybody here wants something. Mostly to rent you a room, here.
I last came to this exact same laundromat exactly one year ago, to the say, to wash all my clothes to eradicate a bed bug infestation – before I realised I had throw away my luggage, strip naked, and disfigure my teddy bear too in order to get rid of the damn things. Those were some of the loneliest days of my life, those first days in California…
I walked though it this time, feeling so safe, so sure of myself, laughing at all the signs, with all the rules.
Exactly who IS responsible for any lost or damage? What is wrong with us humans. We GET THE MEMO. We even READ THE MEMO. And then we think "No, this memo's not for me." Of course, Life doesn't care. She warned you. You you've been served. It's your problem now.
I looked at the pictures of kids that had made my heart so sore for the lost hope of having kids myself and thought “I got other stuff instead. I’m lucky.”
Everything is said twice. In the signs, then in handwriting. "Nosotros Jabon de la venta aqui". Repeated in slightly different phrasing in the handwriting. Weird I never noticed this last year - not at all. This time, I wondered what Jabon was, but forgot to ask. Turns out it's soap... "We sell our own soap here".
And then there was lunch at the Chinese place next door. And folding the clothes that smelled so nice, taking about socks and underpants, joking around. Then the laundry was done.
Here's where you can buy that soap. And get some advice about life. And help catch the two dudes who robbed the laundromat two years ago. No pressure.
You think this maths is complicated? Try understanding what I think and feel about faith. It will be especially difficult for you if you aren't even really listening to me.
And while I waited to open the trunk of my car, I leaned against my Ford Mustang, flirting with a guy I was in love with, at 4.15pm, a year later, in America. I had a life. And there was still writing and dinner and swimming in the pool and watching movies to look forward to – maybe more.
But later? As if someone else ran a red light and hit me as I went through the green? Bham! By 12 midnight, the pumpkin exploded, and I was right back feeling like I did a year ago. Asa, a Nigerian singer, one of my pop music icons, tells it like it feels: “Every day is not a holiday / My life is like a subway / Oh I know this love don’t last”.