Thursday, May 10, 2012

Loud Cell Phone Conversations About Laundry

Having done the evening reading for my D. Min. program, and taken a walk, and then walked some more, I found myself sitting waiting for the Big Guy to finish up swimming at the rec center.   Around me, the other parents sat poring over their smartphones, lost in the aether, utterly oblivious to one another.
The woman on the bench across from me stopped checking whatever she was checking, and made a call.  She was just a yard or so away, but as she reached her friend on the other end, her voice was at a volume such that I couldn't help listen in.  I had no choice but to hear her end of the conversation.

It was about laundry, and putting away shirts and socks.   

Yeah, she said, and we went through the drawers together.  Yeah, most of them didn't fit him.  Uh huh.  Uh huh.  I can't believe how many tee shirts there were.  Pause.  Yup.  Yeah, those were too big, too.  I don't know why.  No, I washed them.  Yes, I folded them.  And the socks.  I don't know.  Yes, all the socks.   Yes, the dress socks.  I think there were twenty pairs of dress socks.

And on the conversation went, about this shirt, about that shirt, about how she'd bought that shirt, yeah, about how hard it was to get him to help, but how he did help put them away, and no, he didn't want to, but he did.

It was an odd conversation, this conversation about laundry, all delivered in a medium-venue voice, projected out into the space so I couldn't help but listen.  I wondered who she was talking to.  I wondered...really...why this would seem interesting.  I checked the time.  Five more minutes before my son would be out.  Five more minutes of socks and shirts and folding.

And then she said, you know, there are just so many clothes.  He just had so many clothes.  Yeah.  Yeah.  I know.  I just always thought I'd know when...  He seemed so...I don't know.  I just didn't see it coming, he seemed so... Yeah.  And I can't get that day out of my...yeah.  Uh huh.  I know.  It hasn't been.  Uh huh.  I.  Yeah.  Yeah.

And she was crying a little bit now, softly dabbing at her eyes, trying not to be seen.

And I was reminded that we should always, always listen carefully for the whole story.