I am still a bit dumbfounded, not quite sure how to react. I did some laundry this morning, my first time in the new house. After soaking and scrubbing my clothes in the bathroom, I brought the sudsed clothes outside to the communal fountain where I was planning on rinsing and then hanging them. Almost immediately, an elderly woman, Sevil, pushed me out of the way and took charge (Sevil is a toothless old woman who lives next door. Every time I see her she kisses me on the cheek and calls me her son.). She rinsed and hung the clothes with the precision of a brain surgeon and the speed of a race car driver. In no time at all, the clothes were perfectly hung, dripping fresh mountain water in the beating sun. I stood there, absolutely useless, half smirking and half gaping. I had done absolutely nothing except hand her clothesline clips as she hastily demanded them, and I could barely keep up with that task!
I’ve been spoiled by the convenience of washing machines, and she, after many years, has mastered a craft. Her reasons for helping an absolute stranger wash his clothes, and even his underwear, are twofold. Firstly, and most sincerely, the Azerbaijani people are just so ‘gosh darn’ kind and hospitable! They are truly a warm-hearted people, especially elderly women, known as Xanims (pronounced Hanim). Secondly, as is also true of the Azeri people, they believe men are useless (only partially true). She likely did not want to see me clumsily demean the craft she has spent so many year perfecting. Either way, I’ll accept the help with open arms!
However, herein lies one of the greatest moral dilemmas of our generation. As she finished hanging my clothes and retreated to her own apartment as if nothing had happened, she insisted that I bring her my laundry every time. She almost pleaded with me to allow her to wash my clothes. So, should I take her up on this most gracious offer, saving myself the time, sparing myself the humiliation as all the housewives look on, and allow her to perform this task with the grace of Gretzky? Or, do I refuse the offer, take the embarrassment and harassment that are sure to continue, and clean my own clothes with the clumsiness that Ting talks to girls (sorry buddy)?
I welcome your comments!
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