Rohit's Realm

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March 16, 2003

Laundromat Languish

My last laundromat experience was so shocking for me, that I managed to write an entire entry about how the vagabonds of University Avenue terrorize innocent laundry-doers. Having experienced what I did with the bottom rung of society, I didn't expect to have to endure a worse experience, but I was sorely mistaken: my trip today to the laundromat turned out to be much, much, much worse than any before.

To begin with, it was raining when I woke up this morning, so already the day started off poorly. I was running out of clothes, so laundry was a must, and since I was busy and/or committed for the entire afternoon, I had to trek out to the laundromat at around 9:30 am today. When I got there, before I could even descend the stairs, I almost tripped over two dirty bums, who were harassing anyone going down the stairs, demanding money. I pushed past them and went into the building. I had hardly even started unloading clothes into the machine, when I smelled someone behind me.

I turned around, and found a homeless woman with outstretched hands, asking (more like demanding) that I give her 50 cents to do laundry. Now I didn't have any quarters, and under normal circumstances, I would have told her to get the hell away from me, but I had a problem. I only had a $20 bill on me, and I needed to go to McDonald's to break it, so I could get only $5 of quarters. The damn homeless lady, however, wouldn't leave me alone, and kept eyeing my stuff.

So, instead of breaking my twenty at McDonald's, I ended up having to put the entire thing into the machine, and get more quarters than I need for the rest of the school year. What a freakin' waste! And of course, when she heard the quarters dropping, she was instantly near me, asking for money, not only for laundry, but for food as well. This wasn't a normal situation on the streets where I could just say get the hell away from me. She wasn't leaving, so I gave her the 50 cents, hoping she would stop harassing me. She then had the audacity to ask me to give her my bottle of soap, almost two gallons of detergent, that cost me $8 of my money.

Listen up here—maybe you don't understand: THIS IS MY SOAP. I earned the money that paid for it. And now you just want me to give it to you? What do I look like? Some goddamn tourist who believes your sob story or your bullshit lies? You think I should feel sorry for you because you're a drug addict and an alcoholic and smell of booze at 9:30 in the morning? Or because you terrorize our society and harass everyone who goes anywhere with your outstretched hands, always begging for money?

Well, I don't. I couldn't care less about you or anyone like you, even if I tried. Why should I give you money? Because I have more of it then you? Because I can afford it? Who says that because I work for my money and you don't, that I have some obligation to give you some. I believe in no such obligation. I work very, very hard for what I earn—why should I be expected to give it up, just because someone is more unfortunate than me? And it's not even like giving out to a charity. I have absolutely no issue with charity, and donate whenever someone asks me nicely.

But I know what I give you will not be put to any productive use, except perhaps making the neighborhood dope dealer a bit richer. Yeah, that's really where I want to see the money I work for end up. In the hands of a drug dealer. That's real great.

I finally managed to get rid of the lady, after saying no multiple times, when some other poor sap walked in to the laundromat. She proceeded to pester the next few customers, then left without another word, taking my 50 cents with her. I was so pissed I gave up that money. Okay, I'm not so cheap as to care that much about 50 cents, but the principle of the matter pissed me off to no end. I had just given money to a bum, something I never do. I had capitulated to almost feeling sorry for them. And it wasn't as if I was misinformed about what she was going to do with the money—she had no laundry! God only knows why the hell she wanted my bottle of soap.

Goddammit! Just thinking about it makes me angry all over again. I hate going to the laundromat now. I couldn't wait to leave today. It was filled with people begging for money, one after another, and no one from the staff was around to kick them out. I didn't even bother to fold my laundry, I was so annoyed. I just dumped everything from the dryer into my bag, and got the hell out of there as fast as I could.

Anyway, I'm gonna stop ranting now, not because I've run out of steam, but because I could go on and on about how I'm filled with rage, and I still have some homework to do.

Other than that episode this morning, though, my weekend has been pretty normal. I got a lot of bonding done with the CalSO folks this weekend, and almost no studying. Friday evening, I returned from work past 8:30 pm, and watched a movie—The Negotiator, a great movie. Kevin Spacey and Samuel L. Jackson are awesome.

Saturday evening, a small CalSO crew, including Garett, Chris, Claire, Greg, Zully, Xav, and myself went out to the new CPK in Emeryville, or so we thought. One hour later, after being misled by a police officer and ending up in a random part of Oakland, we reached the Amtrak station, which was a ten minute walk from the mall. But the wait for CPK ended up being around an hour and a half, so instead we ended up stuffing ourselves full of bread at Pasta Pomodoro, which was next door. The bread was damn good; I can't say the same thing about my dish, which was a rather large disappointment.

Or maybe I was just stuffed full from bread, that I had no desire to eat what I got. In any case, the real adventure happened on the trip home, when we got bored of waiting for the bus for more than forty-five minutes, and all jumped into a cab. Yes: seven people in a cab all the way to the MacArthur BART station (Xav had deserted us earlier, so there were only seven of us—sounds vaguely like Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, but don't worry, we didn't lose anyone else). I got home around 11 pm and was so exhausted, that I went almost immediately to bed.

Today, I again hung out with the CalSO crew as six of us took the campus tour. I gave Phil the wrong directions and told him to go to University Hall, but luckily he managed to make it to the Campanile before 1 pm. No harm, no foul, right? After that we go went to Sather Lane and then I had to go off to the dreaded EE lab. Boy I hate Matlab. The rest of my day has been spent studying (big surprise!), and I'd just like to conclude this rather long post by saying I really hate Chem 130A for having 3 midterms, because if it weren't for that midterm on Wednesday, I could just cruise into Spring Break and not worry about school until after that.


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