It always astounds me that those who so desperately need attention will go to extreme lengths to disturb any occasion, no matter how peaceful the scene. The impetus of this post is the laundromat, natch, of which I am arriving rather old-lady early these days. If I get there in the 8 o'clock hour, I am pretty much guaranteed not only "my" machines, but no loud cell phone talkers or sugar-hyper kids. It's worth the lack of sleep to get in while the place is relatively empty and quiet but for the hum of the dryers and the whirl of the washing machines.
But, there always seems to be a turd in my punchbowl lately. And this one was wearing pigtails (which should be noted as Notice Me effort #1).
She first came to my attention when she burst through the swinging door of the attached cafe and yelled across the room to her husband. With the extra poundage she was sporting, it might have been more prudent to walk the twenty feet to her husband. I think walking burns for calories than a shout, otherwise I'd be screaming all day. Like a well-trained Labrador, her husband followed her call and back into the cafe they went. Ten minutes or so later, he returned, and ten seconds after that, she burst through the door and shouted for him again. Apparently, nothing really existed unless he saw it, too.
Now, let me map this out for you. I sit in the back of the laundromat, sipping my soy latte, reading Sedaris, minding my own business...quietly. To the left of my perch, about six feet away, is the swinging door to/from the cafe I mentioned earlier. On his third trip back, her husband must have breezed by me when I was finishing the burning mouse story, but I nearly came out of my skin when Miss Pigtails kicked (KICKED!) open the door, and hard. I looked over in surprise to find her smiling and, in each hand, holding a full-sugared soda. I suppose it did not occur to her that the light-weight door could have easily been bumped open with her backside, but I might have missed her grand entrance had she done something that subtle.
I suppose none of this would have bothered me if: 1) I had been listening to NIN (but it was so meditatively peaceful, I decided to go with the rhythm of the 'mat as I read); and 2) she wasn't wearing a similar ensemble to mine -- which, embarrassingly enough, consisted of black track pants and a black tee. I'm not going to apologize for my lack of fashion. It's effing laundry day. Anyway, I at least had my hair up in a French twist (the first since I got Boop'ed) and not in pigtails that are not only age inappropriate for someone 40+, but also exposed a good inch of her gray rootage. That is something most of us try not to have others notice. Every atom of her being seemed to scream, "Notice me! Notice me!" Finally, they seemed settled in the cafe. His attention now solely on her, she no longer had to beg the rest of us to bear witness.
Many moons ago, my friend, Snap and I discovered the Notice Me! Notice Me! phenomenon back when we were film students at CalArts. We soon learned how to discern which student belonged to which school. Those donning baseball caps and playing hacky sack were the animators who would go off to Pixar after a year and make bank. Those who could not stop swaying and had magnificent posture were the dancers. Those whom we never saw much socially were the music students. The emo-sullen were the art students, except for a gregarious few who were the graphic artists (mostly they were chicks; though there were still plenty of sullen GAs of both genders, and they usually silkscreened t-shirts). Film student were pale (from spending so much time in dark theatres or the subterranean edit bays) and sleep deprived (from long, night shoots and editing through dawn), but carried an optimism/delusion that they would breakthrough and be the next Tarantino. However, the most easy to define area of study was the Theatre student/acting major. Snap and I could be sitting quietly in the coffee house, splitting a six-pack of Bud Light (don't ask -- for some reason he claimed that was a more gay-friendly beer) and be deep in a great philosophical conversation and suddenly the whole place would come to a halt because a Theatre student would need to act out the conversation with wild physicality and projected vocals. He and I would soon come to mock them by waving our arms for dramatic effect as we sang out, "Notice me! Notice me!" Then we would giggle a bit and go back to our beer and repartee until we were interrupted again. (Don't be mad, my Theatre alum friends. You know what I mean. And we loved you for it.)
Snap and I will still call someone out on that behavior. One was my ex's now-wife, whom for some reason absolutely hates me. This is rather perplexing, because, at that point, she and I had never met. At least give me a minute to piss you off. Jeebus.
We were at my favorite brekky spot for brunch. I hadn't seen the ex (nicknamed here as Almost) in about a year. I noticed him when the two of them pulled up on his motorcycle not realizing it was him at the moment, just wondering who the fuck would be wearing such thick leather jackets on such a hot day. My ex and his girl evidently. (The motorcycle came after our breakup. Had it happened before, he would have had a smarter getup.). He didn't see me and I was kind of hoping we could "miss" each other on this occasion, but the Irish waitress bellowed out my name and he leapt up as I passed. He introduced her to me. She gave me her wet-noodle handshake, but failed to look in my direction as I said, "So nice to meet you." Whatever.
As luck (?) would have it, they were seated across the aisle from Snap and me. His back was to our booth, but she faced us. Every time the waitress came by their table, she would talk so loudly that Snap and I would have to stop our conversation, unable to hear each other but for telepathy, where we both were like, "Why the hell does she have to talk so bloody loudly? We don't give a toss that they just got back from Hawaii. Shut it." However, when the waitress wasn't around, the two of them were quiet lambs. Barely an audible bah between them.
"She really wants you to notice her," Snap said. "You should go over and sit in his lap and give them a proper hello." Don't worry, I'm not that kind of a girl. I was happy for the both of them. Just puzzled at her behavior. Snap and I just tried to ignore her (which wasn't easy) and enjoy our brunch.
Finally, after a few more visits from the waitress, they left. She shot out of the room, but Almost waved goodbye to us and we awkwardly returned the gesture. Once he was out of earshot, we let loose. Snap mocked her with his arms waving in the air and a high volume parroting of, "BLAH blah blah blah blah and BLAH blah blah blah blah and BLAH..." which was interrupted when Almost walked back to the table to leave the tip. He looked at us, knowing what we were doing, and kind of gave an acknowledging glance. We looked back contrite. I didn't want to hurt his feelings, or hers. But we were caught. Nailed by our own Notice Me behavior. We waved again and said how good it was to see him. Have a nice day and all that. And please, give her my best.
Somehow, I doubt she got that message, or cared if she did.