Monday, October 11, 2010

Steve, from the laundromat

I made a mistake not too long ago. I gave my number to a guy I met at the laundromat.

I haul my laundry bag into the facility and typically keep to myself, as does everyone else. and read my nook. I walk past a chubby Latino with a neckbeard, emphatically discussing technology with a less-than-enthused girl folding her clothes. I load the self-service machines, slotting coins and then sit down to get some reading done. Uninterested Girl now leaves the building and Neckbeard finds his way over to me, inquiring about my iPad. I tell him what it is, and he gives it the pseudo-recognition: "Ohh, yeah, yeah. Right, I heard of that." I get the sense that I have now taken up the mantle of Uninterested Guy now that Girl has left, and I will not be left alone to read. I am not. What I did get was this guy's life story, which I believe was about ninety per cent fabrication. His name is Steve. He told me he is a programmer, and replied "Spanish and English" when I asked him what languages he programmed in. Ultimately it was harmless conversation from a harmless guy who simply interrupted my reading. No big deal. He leaves and soon after, I leave.

A couple of Thursdays later I'm back at the laundromat and there is Steve, having captured another too-polite-to-say-fuck-off launderer, and he's chatting away with the same inexhaustible energy as before. He sees me and leaves the first patron to engage me, his new laundromat friend. He catches me up to the recent events in his life, tall tales of Atlantic City, police, and entrepreneurial betrayals. It's a stream of consciousness story that I can tell he makes up as he goes along because of the little details, such as the fluctuating number of kids he has (Steve is, I'd say, in his early twenties) and that he can't make up his mind whether to refer to his sig-other as girlfriend or wife. These things happen.

He asks to exchange numbers because, well, I don't know why. And I also don't know why I didn't say "No." I guess I thought it would be rather defensive to tell him that I don't know him and it is inappropriate, particularly since I didn't actually believe he was ever going to call me. But he has, several times in fact, at various times of the day, including 1am. I ignored them all but once. Today he called me while I'm at work, and I figured I'd see what he wanted. Turns out, he wants to coordinate laundry times so we can do our laundry together. Repeat that last sentence, only imagine Chet from Weird Science saying it. He asked me if I was at home, which I find really odd I guess, although it's really an innocuous question, since I'm not worried about a home invasion. It is stalker-like though. I'm sure he doesn't know where I live, although statements like that are inevitably followed up with questions such as "Are you sure he doesn't know?" To be honest, no I am not sure.

I've included two of the voicemails, which aren't all that interesting, but I have them nonetheless.

10/2/10 10:55 PM

10/10/10 8:19 PM