Matters of Perspective

So I went in to pick up the laundry I’d dropped off–the dryer is still on the fritz–and the woman who runs the laundrymat pulled out the bag of clothes, looked at me, and said "Honey, let me put this in a cart for you."

It was a sixteen pound bag of laundry. I knew this because the weight was inherent in the price.

"Uh…I’m sure it’ll be fine…" I said.

She got a cart anyway. "Now, do you have someone to help you carry this when you get home?"


Now, I am by many measures a wussy.  Pickle jars laugh in my presence. I switched from Golden, a much superior brand, to Liquitex paint, just because I was tired of having to use pliers on the Golden tubes. If the fate of the universe ever hinges on my ability to do a single pull-up, we’re all going to die.

Still, I have never once had a problem lifting a fifteen pound bag of laundry. A katana, which weighs a fraction of that, becomes unbearably heavy in a matter of seconds during certain forms, but you generally don’t do katas with laundry. I have never ritually flicked the blood of my imaginary enemies off my laundry. Even in my admittedly demented little world, the issue does not arise.

"Um," I said. "I think I can manage it…"

"Oh, well," she sighed, pushing the cart in front of her.  "When I was a petite little thing like you, I was Wonder Woman, too."

I have not been called petite in…well, many moons. Even when I dropped a stupid quantity of weight and was in the mid 140s, I was still 5’7" and a D-cup, and these days, hovering at the high end of the 160s, I am…well…average. 

On the other hand, this was coming from a big black woman, and I don’t mean "big" as a euphemism for "fat." She was a good six feet tall and built to scale, and although she was probably upwards of two hundred pounds, the impression was less of obesity and more of an Amazon experiencing some slight middle-age spread.

"I haven’t been called petite in years," I said meekly, feeling rather like a small oxpecker bird contemplating a full-size Cape buffalo, who happened to be carrying my laundry.  I was simply and suddenly a smaller order of animal.

"Oh, honey." (There is a delivery of "honey" endemic to the South that cannot be easily replicated in other climes.) "But you are!"

"Um…thank you?"

I suppose it all depends on where you’re looking from.

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