217. Laundry Day (2)

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When the timer made its loud beeping sound, Kerry went downstairs. As he turned the corner and neared the laundry room, he heard the washer going. That didn't make sense, he thought. The washer should be finished. Entering the laundry room, he saw his just-washed clothes piled on top of the dryer. His laundry basket, half full of unwashed clothes, was now sitting on the floor. Someone had set aside his laundry basket and put their own clothes into the washer. Their second load sat atop the washer. Irritated, Kerry put his damp clothes into the dryer and turned it on. Then he walked over to his downstairs neighbor's apartment. He knew who had "cut in line"—it was the maid.

"Excuse me," he told her, "you saw that I had a second load of clothes to wash. I was there ahead of you. Why didn't you just wait till my second load was washed? That's the polite thing to do."

"Oh, I'm so sorry," she said. "You see, I have to pick up my kids at four o'clock, so I needed to do the clothes quickly. I'm so sorry." Kerry looked at her and shook his head. Don't do anything wrong in the first place and you won't have to apologize for it later, he thought. Had she waited her turn, she still would have finished doing her two loads by three o'clock. Me, me, me, Kerry thought—they should just rename this country "America."


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