Strap in, this is gonna be a stoner one.
My old place was a sixplex older than Hazel. With a small, useful laundry in the basement with me. I knew everyone in the building eventually, and families, and churches. So when some little shits would try to rummage through our storages it was a pleasure to scare them off. It would feel better if when I was robbed and they kicked my door it someone would of called the cops.
The point is it was a shitty little hole, but it was my shitty little hole.
I was having a mental health night on my own, which unfortunately meant laundry, but also included a very gourmet joint and a giant mess of fried rice. I was grabbing my last load out of the dryer when I heard one of my neighbour’s door clunk shut. I decided I didn’t feel like socializing so I took my time so as not to run into someone as they left. This was a good plan. Fantastic plan. I am very smart.
Until the footsteps came all the way down. OK fine, I am done, they can just come in and I’ll say hi and leave. After setting this plan in my brain was when I considered how long this wayward clothes washer had stopped. Outside the laundry door. Silent.
Two people stopped on either side of a wall, neither one wanting to make a sound. How does this end well? I tried to communicate.
“Are you doing laundry?”
“I think so,” he chuckled, nervously, “I might need help,”
“Okaaaaay,” I eyed the empty doorway, “who are you?”
“I am (Upstairs neighbour’s) nephew,” *pause* “I am really high,” I could hear him sweat.
I was instantly in charge. “That’s fine, so am I,”
“Do you want to come in?”
The poor teenage boy that presented himself was a paranoid mess. I watched him slide into doorway cautiously. He then froze in that spot, eyes darting around, his face frozen into a frown of Beeker proportions. I was expecting a meepmeepmeep.
This made me laugh. Which made things worse. He shuffled back and forth as I giggled to myself and moved my basket out of the way, “Get in here,”
“I am really high and I am visiting my aunt wAY longer than I thought today and she asked me to put the wash in and I heard you in here and now I don’t know how long…”
I stopped him with a assuring hand waggle in his face. After explaining I wasn’t going to narc on him he was very grateful. I stayed with him while he shoved items into the washing machine and fumbled with a handful of quarters. I was Zen but also counting seconds. I really wanted to leave and go back to hiding on my sofa, but I know it would be a shit move to leave him there.
The washer started running water and I followed him out to the hall. Kid looked up the stairs, and then at me, “What do I do?”
“Go in, drink a giant glass of water and don’t volunteer any information,” I tapped a finger on his basket, “And hope they ask you to do anything else,”
Kid nodded and went upstairs and I listen to the door clunked closed behind him.
I washed my hands of Kid at that point. Anything else he’d have to learn on his home. I threw laundry on the bed and burrito’d myself in front of the TV. For those who know me well, I will state that Froggy was there, being the best cat.
I have no idea what happened after that. I didn’t hear and screaming or terror from upstairs so I assume, still, all these years later, that he made it out with a life lesson about knowing your limits and blahblahblah.
I guess this kind of falls into the ‘Always be kind’ sort of thing. I could of just left him there, I thought about it, but in the end you have to help. It’s in our nature as a social animal. Self care is important, but so is empathy.
What I am trying to say is, no matter how fucked up you are, there’s somebody more fucked up. Take care of them.
Have a good life.