Sometimes -- as in, when I have the $10 to do so -- I take my laundry to a laundromat by my house. It's in between an Indian restaurant and a place where you can get things like turkey hunting permits. Very eclectic little group of businesses there.
There is both a washer and a dryer in the basement of the house I rent, but they're elderly and small and slow and laundry is a task I'd just rather get over with.
One day, rather than read the inevitable Jehovah's Witnesses magazines, I chose to play on Facebook on my phone. I posted a status saying where I was and that my Oxi Clean stain stick had failed me for the first time -- and it failed on my Ryan Braun T-shirt. (Ryan Braun is the left fielder for the Milwaukee Brewers, my favorite team. He was embroiled in some controversy this past offseason but was vindicated.)I asked if that should be considered justice or irony.
S., who I met in CCD class in second grade as they got us ready for First Communion, and who is a giant hockey freak, immediately posted: "All I want to know is, do you still have your Bernie Federko jersey?"
Bernie played minor league hockey in S.'s and my hometown for a couple of years around 6th or 7th grade. I loved him, though I couldn't tell you why. So I saved my allowance, and I bought a cheap jersey (the kind you couldn't put in the dryer or it would melt PCBs all over everything), and when it came, I walked up to the T-shirt shop at the mall and had his name lettered across the back. And then I wore it to school every chance I could find, because I thought I looked cool as hell.
I was blown away that S. would remember that. I sat there with my head in my hands for a solid 10 minutes, trying to pick apart and process my feelings. When I felt like I could properly respond, I simply said "Wow -- I can't believe you remember that. Thank you for not thinking I was a dork."
His reply was almost instant: "Remember it like yesterday. And I *never* thought you were a dork. I always loved the way you represented."
Let's review, shall we? 13-old-girl. On what then was considered the larger side, though it now is considered the ideal weight for my height. (I took a lot of crap for my weight as a kid, and none of it was justified, if you look back at old pix. But that's another post.) Glasses. Dressed funny, for a girl. Heavily into sports instead of nail polish and hair goop. (One friend said he wondered later if I were a lesbian because I was into sports and wore a lot of flannel.) Stood the entire rest of my 7th grade English class to a spelling bee -- and won. In other words, pretty nerdy and not a little outside of the mainstream.
And somebody didn't think I was weird.
I wanted to say, "WHY didn't you say that then?," but realized that there isn't a 13-year-old kid on the planet who doesn't feel like an alien.
It's been 30-odd (very odd) years since 7th grade. It blows me away to know how people *really* thought of me as opposed to how I *thought* they thought of me. I could have averted so much depression....but, live and learn.