Friday, September 22, 2006

Serendipity

(Not the movie, which I thought was a little lame, honestly, in spite of having had a crush on John Cusak when I was in high school, and continuing to have residual fond feelings for him even now.)

On Monday, my washing machine kicked it. Actually, it's my parents' washing machine, but let's not get nit-picky. The point is, I had a full load of sheets and towels in there, and another load of work clothes I was going to need for the week, and I couldn't clean them. I didn't have to work until later that afternoon, so I was privately and blissfully making an idiot of myself by working out to a salsa-based aerobics video in my living room, when this hideous screech, not unlike that of a chainsaw, began issuing from the basement. If I wouldn't have fallen headlong, I would have run down there with my hands over my ears, but instead I settled for gritting my teeth and squinting (which does nothing for volume but makes me think it does) as I galloped down the stairs to turn it off. It smelled like someone had been burning tyres down there.

The situation was not good. I had imminent out of town guests, and the only pair of sheets that fit on the bed they were meant to occupy was now sitting in a nonfunctional drum of water. Never having had to avail myself of such services in this area, I wasn't sure where the nearest laundromat ("launderette," for you British types) was, and I had neither the time nor inclination to locate it, so I phoned a family who lives down the street and also attends my church, to see if I could get some pity-laundry done over there.

No one was home.

There is one other family I know from church who lives a little further down the street. Their lives are in fairly massive upheaval right now, though, and there are numerous people crammed into their not-very-large house, and I really didn't want to add to anyone's stress. On the other hand, I was getting a little stressed myself, and self-preservation kicks in pretty readily with me. So I called.

"Can I come and do two quick loads of laundry over there? My dryer works--it's just the washing machine."

"Hang on a second," said Elaine, turning away from the phone to confer with someone in her general vicinity. When she turned back to me, she said, "Do you want a new washing machine?"

"What?"

"Do you want a washing machine? Kim wants to buy a new one, even though this one is perfectly fine and is only a couple of years old, and we just don't have room to have this one lying around. I was really worried this morning, trying to figure out what we were going to do with it, and I was going to tell her she couldn't get one because I don't know what to do with this. But maybe this is God's way of taking care of that."

I'm pretty sure it is. I'll unpack this some more later. For now, I'll just tell you that the laundry got done, and my friends had clean (and dry, and not-soapy) sheets to sleep on.

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