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The Parable of the Potential Panty Pilferer

September 24, 2007

It’s time again, gentle readers, for tales of the Squirrelly World.  Tonight…  The Parable of the Potential Panty Pilferer!

On this particular fine Sunday afternoon, I had gone forth unto the laundry.  The rather overflowing pile of dirty laundry was overtaking my room and needed to be turned into a much tidier pile of clean clothes.  The afternoon passed uneventfully, as I first washed, and then dried my laundry.  That is, until, it came time to fold.

I had noticed that a girl was leaving one of the larger folding tables, and rushed over to lay claim to it.  I placed my two laundry bags, my purse, my detergent, and my totebag over to one side of the table.  In public laundry facility terms, this means “This table is taken.  Please be so kind as to not attempt to use it, as I will choke a bitch if you do.”  I then moved off to gather the first load of my laundry.

Upon my return, I noticed a small blue laundry bag folded up on the table I had laid claim to, on the opposite end from my things.  This, obviously, is in complete violation of the unspoken laundry rules.  One does not simply lay one’s things down upon a table, unless you have the intent of staking a claim.  To do so is a challenge to the claim of the initial user, not to mention terribly rude.  As insults go, it’s right behind removing another person’s laundry from a machine immediately after the machine stops, rather than waiting a few minutes for the person to come do so themselves.  Since the person who owned the bag wasn’t standing near it, I picked it up and moved it to the top of the closest washing machine, assuming that this was the most logical location for this person’s laundry to be.

After a few minutes of sorting through my laundry, I spied someone approaching out of the corner of my eye.  Male, older, of some Middle Eastern or possibly Indian descent, with his hands were reaching out, as though to rifle through my laundry.  As the pile sorted into that area contained socks and unmentionables, I was understandably alarmed.  Panty thieves abound in such places, but I did not think our society had degenerated so much as to allow one to be so bold!  As I turned to confront him, he stopped.  He had apparently noticed that his bag was no longer upon the table, and therefore not buried under the pile of feminine undergarments.  He made a comment regarding the fact that he had been intending to retrieve his bag as he shifted it off of the washing machine onto the counter between the machines, thus placing it closer to my laundry.  He received the “Get away from me, you creepy old man” smile in return.

For the next few moments, he merely stood there, gazing off into the middle distance.  As there was nothing of interest in that general direction, and he seemed to have no other purpose save to be standing in the general vicinity of clean lingerie, I became further alarmed.  I spoke in my most polite, yet firm voice.  “Excuse me, sir?  I don’t mean to sound paranoid, but could you please not stand near my laundry?”

He made several apologetic gestures, and moved away.  After a time, he went to go check on his laundry.  Which was not, in fact, in the machine closest to my laundry.  Nor was it anywhere near where he had been standing, so conveniently close to my undies.  Oh no, gentle reader!  This man’s laundry was in a dryer on another row!  He returned briefly to retrieve his bag, making grand gestures as he did to, to show that he was harmless and of no threat to my laundry.  I generally ignored him, save to keep the undergarments still within easy snatching distance under my watchful eye.

And therein, dear readers, it might have ended.  But lo!  The man needed to have the last word (as men so often do).  As he exited the laundry facility, he felt the need to call attention to himself once more.  He spoke several times to catch my attention.  As he seemed the sort who would likely attempt to gain my attention by placing his hand upon me, I turned to face him, thus preventing the messes that so often come of such unwanted advances.  He was terribly sorry, he declared, if he had done anything that offended me.  I made sure to compose my face accordingly, ensuring that he understood through subtle facial expression that I believed him to be a crazy panty thief, and that he should refrain from speaking to me further.

Thus he left, leaving me with nothing more than a pile of clean clothes, a story to tell, and a rather complex mathematical formula involving a woman’s comfort level with a particular man, his distance from her underwear, and his reasons for being at that particular distance, which is by far too complex for such a simple tale.  Until next time, dear readers!  Good night and good dreams.

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