Today was one of my bi-monthly visits to the laundromat. I know it's kind of sad that I'm using Martin Luther King Jr.'s celebratory holiday as a laundry day, but I really had no choice.
Well as typical in my neighborhood people get extremely testy whenever the laundromat is crowded. That's when survival of the fittest kicks in. You have to be predatory about machines, dryers, carts, and even folding space. You have to make temporary alliances too, lest you spend most of your day grumbling while the big cats snatch any of the aformentioned valuables from your grasp. It can look like a hyena taking a big cats prey from them at times. Today was one of those days. And for some reason it seemed that women were pitted against men time and time again. And one place where a man stands little chance against an angry woman is the laundromat. You can see the woman rise up in almost a bear like state, looking imposing and roaring all the time, leaving the men to call them bitches or whatever else leaves their lips, while the woman gets the last of her family's wash into a machine.
I texted Al amidst all of the chaos today. She responded that Martin wouldn't be happy. I certainly agreed.
So I have a few things I dream about today:
- I have a dream that people will be courteous to one another in the laundromat.
- I have a dream that newbies will not rush to take machines when they know they have least rights in the queque.
- I have a dream that people will not call the nice Asian caretakers in the laundromat deragotary names.
- I have a dream that dryers will be turned up high enough so that you don't have to spend a dollar per machine, wasting 40 minutes--when you used to take 20, to get your clothes dry.
- I have a dream that I never get into one of the aforementioned altercations. I have very little patience with stupidity and therefore tend to suck my teeth and move on, hating to cause a scene.
Reflections on Dr. King
Martin Luther King Jr. was an amazing ambassador of using nonviolence (peaceful resistance) in order to gain rights that benefited not only himself, but others. This post is in no way a mockery of what Dr. King stood for.
I leave you with a lasting memory. I remember participating in a celebration of Dr. King on the night of the first Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. I was a part of two performances that night, as a fourth grader. I was the letter D and the letter K and reeled off the bits of wisdom prepared by my teacher, Ms. Steele. The second performace paired me with another class. I was not Dr. King, but I was on the set and spoke some of the words from the speech. Those words are still ingrained in who I am today.
I spoke with the power and conviction as if the living embodiment of his dream, as though he spoke through me, despite my miniature stature. I spoke louder that day than perhaps at any point in my life. I was a part of something special. It was the first celebration and I had been chosen to take part and wanted to make sure that I didn't waste the opportunity.
Today I salute you Dr. King as well as anyone that has ever fought for civil rights. I applaud anyone that fought with actions, words, dollars, and thoughts. God bless you and enjoy the rest of your day.
I have a dream that one day people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.