Our washing machine broke the other day. These things happen. Sadly enough, my dad’s girlfriend can’t deal with change at all. Her and my dad are both intellectually impaired. I’m not sure if she’s ever gotten an official diagnosis. I know my dad hasn’t, even though all the signs are there. I know I shouldn’t be using the term for people who haven’t had an official diagnosis, but it helps me deal with things and cope with their behaviour towards me, because please believe me when I say that living with two people who function at such a low intellectual level can be extremely complicated and frustrating.
So our washing machine broke. Big deal right? You go to a store, buy a new one and in a few days’ time the problem is resolved. Sure, you might have some laundry that needs to wait a while before it can get done, but these things happen, right? Not in this household. In this household something simple like a washing machine that breaks down is cause for panic and what’s more, it’s a good reason to go behind my back and talk shit about me.
On Wednesdays I change my bed linens. It’s just the day I’ve picked out to do that particular chore. So last Wednesday, the day before our washing machine decided to cross the soapy seas, I changed my bed linens and put them in our laundry basket, with the intention of washing them the next day. Sadly, that didn’t get to happen, but apparently, the sheer fact that I put those sheets in there is something to get worked up about. At least, it is for dad’s girlfriend. All day today she’s been complaining about the fact that she’d only just washed some of my sheets (I never asked her to, I’m used to doing it myself and I actually feel very uncomfortable about someone else doing my laundry for me), and now there were new ones in the laundry already. In fact, these weren’t “new” ones. She had just washed one of the sheets that I’d put in the laundry basket last Wednesday, not all of them, so there were still some in there. How dare I, when I knew we didn’t have a washing machine?! The rant went on: “the entire laundry basket was filled with her sheets and towels. There was nothing in there of ours.” Well yes, sheets tend to take up a lot of space and I bathe regularly, so there’s gonna be some towels in there indeed.
Basically, my dad and her had the idea that they might do some laundry over at a relative’s house. Apparently it was a huge issue that there was some of my stuff in there and apparently it was also too difficult to ask me if said stuff needed to be washed right away. It’s such a small and insignificant thing and it’s been blown way out of proportion. To other people, who live in a normal household, where people are actually capable of communicating normally with one another, this will probably sound so unreal. It’s difficult to imagine what it’s like when you can’t have a decent conversation, because the other people simply won’t understand. Not because they don’t want to, but because they literally can’t. I could go up to her right now and ask her why she didn’t just ask me if that particular bit of laundry needed washing. She won’t understand. It’s in the basket, so of course it needs washing. If it didn’t, I shouldn’t have put it in there in the first place. Whatever I do or say, it’ll always end up being my fault anyway. It’s like they decide that it’s your fault, so whatever you do or say doesn’t really make a difference anymore and it hurts, you know. It hurts because I’m alone in this, even though I wouldn’t wish this type of living arrangements upon my worst enemies. Everyone needs a safe space to live in, but I don’t have that. Every day is a struggle to get through, not because of how I’m feeling, emotionally, but because of what these two people might do to how I’m feeling, emotionally. You’re always on guard, always on edge, and it wears you out.