Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Initiations to Community

It's Sunday morning around 10:30.  I have put together three hampers of clothes and now I am in the LaundryWorld over on Fourth Plain and I have two big washers and one little washer loaded and running.  I have about a half hour to write.  The laundries that I have been frequenting are heavily tilted to single old men and young families. Right now this place is colonized by a man speaking at length into a cell phone while his wife glares at him for ignoring her and a older gentlemen who appears to be wishing fervently to be anywhere but here.

Since I am in the laundry, I think that this is a good time to talk about the realities of sharing.  We in the good old USA have made a fetish of independence.  We move our houses out to what used to be perfectly good farmland to have separate dwellings.  We load these dwellings with appliances to that we will never have the indignity of having to be around other folks with our tawdry little needs. 

The laundry room prevents you from what used to be a communal task, women cleaning clothes and taking a moment to do the work in between long dissertations about the shortcoming of the menfolk.  The big herking refrigerator is a storage so that one doesn't have to suffer the presence of others down at the market trying to figure out what looks fresh and good.

The TV/Cable combo have completely severed us from the theater, where sitting down in a place with others and spending a little time suspended in a mutual fantasy with others gave us a common experience.

We speak glowingly here in Doomerville of the pleasantries of the communities that we hope will spring up in the presence of shared hardship.  But I tell you what, it is going to be a tough row to hoe to bring the idea of communal work and shared hardship to a society where atomization, self-absorption, and the cult of Onan have been taken to their logical extremes.

I am trying, as much as possible, to break out of the home-as-fortress mentality.  For I cannot for a moment see how that mentality is healthy.  It will take me quite a bit of work, and I will probably backslide, but I feel that the effort is worth it. 


russell1200 said...

Back when I used them, I found them a good place to read, but not a great place for socializing.

Oldfool said...

I am by nature an introvert but a social one. I have over the years isolated myself even within a crowd and for self defense sometimes I still do.

When I was in my late twenties I used the laundromat and it became a social adventure. I found that most people have a wall up but after observing them for a while I could usually find a weakness and get them to socialize. I met some of the nicest most sincere people that way. Then I backslid.

Now I make it a point to speak to people even if it is no more than a good morning. The overwhelming response is positive. There are holdouts but mostly people are just waiting to open the fortress gate.

The lack of community here in Trollville is appalling but I have been trying to change that. I have had very little success.