ArchivedLogs:A Little Awkward

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A Little Awkward
Dramatis Personae

Doug, Micah

10 December 2013

Chat over laundry. (Part of Infected TP.)


<NYC> Village Lofts - Laundry Room - East Village

This laundry room looks as many laundry rooms do. Fluorescent lights a little too-bright, linoleum floor is chipping, lint-dusty and occasionally stained sticky with spilled detergent. A broom and dustpan in one corner encourage its users to contribute to its cleanliness, which they do with intermittent conscientiousness. A bank of quarter-fed washing machines along the wall have clear windows on their doors to watch the laundry spin and turn within. On the wall opposite, a matching row of dryers near-perpetually has at least one out of commission. A rickety folding table and chairs at one side provide a place to sit and wait. There's a dispenser on the wall that will provide single-use sized packets of detergent or fabric softener, but it is hit or miss whether it is ever in stock.

Time and laundry wait for no man. Witness one Doug Ramsey, apparently home from school on this chilly, snowy Tuesday, and fully immersed in the laundry experience. Dressed in jeans and a black sweatshirt with a Superman shield on the chest, the teenager is currently shifting clothes from the washers into the dryers. On the table, laying face up so that a yellow-and-black robot is clearly visible (at the moment, it looks like it's trying to see something), is his tablet, a cheery male voice going on about computer things in detail enough to sound like a completely different language. Doug doesn't seem to mind, nodding his head as he listens to the cheery chatter, and occasionally laughing at a mis-strung list of words, and correcting the voice gently. "No, no," he says after a particularly lengthy monologue. "Access the dictionay and Wagnell-Strunk files in your database, and study those. Learn about homonyms and synonyms."

Micah has been going through about twice as much clothing as usual, with hopping between what is available of what is /supposed/ to be his primary job and working at the auto shop. As such, he is home this afternoon, an entire /half day/ managing to be filled with Gorilla AT business at least. He has yet to perform his costume change for his next shift at the shop, planned for sometime after lunch, still dressed in his khakis and TARDIS blue polo shirt. With him is a large bag of laundry with a strap for carrying over a shoulder. As he sets this down in front of a washer, faint lingering smells of metal and motor oil come from within. Quit of the heavy load, he notes the presence of another person in the room, a smile sliding onto his face. “Hey, Doug. Good choice of places t'be. Prob'ly the warmest room in the buildin'.”

Doug is distracted enough by his tablet that he doesn't immediately acknowledge that another person has entered the laundry room. Until his tablet chirps, "Self detects another entity in this room. Camera and security access identifies said entity as creatorfriend Micah Zedner. Greetings, Micah Zedner."

Doug turns at the sound of his tablet, and offers Micah a bright grin as he moves to grab dryer sheets and begins tearing them and tossing them into the dryers. "Hey, Micah! You having one of those ever-fun chore lunches?" He grins, and tips his head as he closes the dryers. "Thanks again for loaning me that heater. It really kept my bedroom warm." He closes the dryers, fishing out quarters to drop in the slots. "Just wait," he says with a wink. "Pretty soon, it'll be even warmer." He turns the dial up to HIGH, and lifts his eyebrows as if to say 'see?'

“Wow, your computer-thing's gettin' pretty fancified.” Micah chuckles, eyeing the tablet. “Hello, Computer,” he adds in a distinctly Star Trek cadence. “Not t'worry. Heater weren't even bein' used; glad it could help. You'n the fuzzballs doin' alright up there?” A metallic clang is the report of the washer lid being opened so that Micah can start loading clothing into it. It seems that he's been keeping all of his shop clothes separate, and this bag is entirely filled with the dark navy garments. “Eeyup, chore lunch. I been makin' more laundry an' is reasonable t'get done with everybody else's on the weekends. So...extra weekday laundry when the chance presents.”

Doug beams at the comment on his computer, and pushes the buttons to start the dryers. "Oh, gosh," he says. "It needs some work, still, but he's pretty much a success. I think he'll get me in over at Stark." Doug sounds a /little/ uncertain about that, but his grin is kind of smug. "Call him Warlock, though. I stole his avatar and name out of my stuck-in-tar game." The teenager moves to a chair, and drops into it, reaching over to punch the sleep button on the tablet. Immediately, the screen goes dark, and Doug leans back to stretch his feet out in front of him. "You alone are generating a whole extra day's worth of laundry?" he verifies, his eyebrows lifting in incredulity as the garments are piled in the washer. "That's pretty impressive." The question gets a lazy lift of shoulder. "We're okay. It's cold, and all, but the cats sleep in a fur knot, and I can wear extra clothes, so it's not /too/ bad."

“Well, not an extra day exactly, but definitely an extra load. An' I try t'keep my shop stuff separate since it tends t'get a little...chemical-y.” Micah finishes loading the washer, chucks in some soap, adds quarters to the machine, and fiddles with buttons and dials to get the machine going. “Oh, right, I thought the rendering looked kinda familiar,” he recalls as Doug mentions the Warlock from his game. “Might wanna try gettin' a heatin' pad for the cats t'use when you're not there. They make some electric an' some microwavable an' such. Just put 'em in a cloth cover in whatever spot they like t'nest in durin' the day.”

"Yeah, that wouldn't be good, mixing the loads," Doug says, wrinkling his nose. "But still. That seems like a crappy residual for extra working." He offers a grin, and folds his hands over his stomach. The suggestion of a heating pad gets a small chuff of realization, and the teenager bobs his head. "A heating pad's a good idea. At least for when I've got to go to class and stuff. I wish I just knew how to fix this kind of shit; I'd happily fix everyone's to have my place warm, too." He falls silent, for a moment, his brow knitting as he considers something. "Hey, I'm sorry if I was weird last night. I hadn't slept, and it was just...uncomfortable." His expression is grim, but apologetic. "Especially with...everyone...who was there."

“Eh, one load of laundry ain't too bad. Just glad for the work. /Somebody's/ gonna come lookin' for the rent eventually.” Micah's features shadow briefly, likely thinking of the probably-dead super. “I checked the thermostat at Dusk an' Flicker's,'s somethin' bigger'n that. As...was prob'ly real apparent when /other/ apartments started losin' heat.” Micah looks a shade sheepish when he realises this. “Might've been able t'fix a simple electrical problem, but I'm not trained t'the point where I'd be of too much use in the utility room. S'pose we could hire an HVAC guy an' save the bills, deduct it from rent later. Somethin' like that. I'd imagine it's more'n just the two apartments needin' help, too.” A light blush begins to form at Doug's apology, deepening with the additional explanation. “Oh, um. So--apologies. Didn't wanna make nobody uncomfortable, just. Worried when folks're without heat in this kinda weather.”

"I'd considered hiring an HVAC guy," Doug says, jerking his chin towards his chest. "I think my dad would even defray the cost, just because it's where I live. But I feel weird doing stuff like that. Like I'm showing off or something." He shudders, and finishes in a shrug. "But, if you guys want to have one come in, I'll totally pitch in for that." Micah's blush gets one in return, and the teenager dips his head. "Well, I appreciate that. I just. Don't think I'd ever be comfortable staying at your place." When he looks back up, his mouth is pulled in a tight smile. "I mean, I'm happy for you guys and everything, and I really think it's great." He lifts his shoulders in a helpless shrug. "But...I just. Can't." He chuffs a weak-sounding laugh. "Not as long as I'm single, anyway."

“Ain't showin' off t'fix a thing that's broke. 'Specially if that thing's somethin' vital for /you/. I doubt anybody'd complain.” Micah shrugs slightly, looking pensive for a moment. “Prob'ly oughtta ask Dusk an' Flicker what they wanna do. S'far as I know yet, s'just their place an' yours. Though we'll sure take up a collection as needed t'get it done, if that's the direction they wanna go.” He leans back against the washer, fingers raking through his hair in a fidgety fashion. “Really didn't mean it that way...s'just we're the only ones with heat'n... I'm sure Dusk'n Flicker would've offered if not for /theirs/ bein' out.” He turns his eyes down to his feet, though the slight increase in redness is still visible on the back of his neck. “Didn't mean t'make y'feel pressured. We'll make sure not t' that again.”

Doug hums thoughtfully. "Maybe I'll just do it, and people can pay me back, if they want," he says. "I mean, it /is/ kind of an emergency, in this weather." He considers that for a moment before he's shaking his head at the older man. "No, it's cool. I didn't feel /pressured/. It was just...I didn't really have a good excuse /not/ to stay." He wrinkles his nose. "I couldn't just up and say 'oh,hey, I get weirdly jealous when I see happy couples, so I'll pass.'" He makes a face, sticking out his tongue and looking mildly horrified. "That sounds just as pathetic out loud as it does in my head."

“Yeah, maybe. Usually Dusk's kinda...around, I can ask 'im when I see 'im again, too.” Micah looks back up at Doug, fingers still a little fidgety where they tap against the washer. “It's okay. Y'didn't owe us an explanation. An' bein' uncomfortable with somethin's a good enough excuse not t'do it, okay?” His fingers continue their tap-tap-tap, though the sound is mostly subsumed by the louder washing machine noises. “That seems t'be a not uncommon sentiment in people generally, though. So...I guess it's a thing.”

"Yeah. Dusk is always kind of around, isn't he?" Doug says, the corner of his mouth lifting slightly. "He's good like that." He doesn't offer anything more, except to address the tablet, punching the sleep button. "Warlock, find me the numbers of all the heating repair businesses in a eight-block radius." The tablet chirps in response, and Warlock's voice replies. "Affirmative, creatorfriend! Creating file." Doug nods, and looks back at Micah apologetically. "I just wanted you to know why I get so weird, sometimes," he says. "It's not personal, or anything. Clearly, if it's not uncommon. I guess it's just plain old envy or something." He narrows one eye, thinking a moment before he amends. "Maybe a bit of wondering what it's like."

“Well, good, or more that he works from home...” Micah quiets for the conversation between Doug and his tablet, not certain if background conversation will interfere with the giving of commands. “Just...couple stuff,” Micah acknowledges with a small nod. “I sometimes afraid maybe I did somethin' more wrong than I thought an' just. Never realised. I know it was all kinda a mess with everybody in an' out of Hive's head an'...all of it.” He nods again. “But just...regular couple stuff, then. I'll not put y'through the usual 'you'll find somebody' talk. No matter how true it might be. Know it comes off patronisin' at best.”

Doug laughs at the comments about the usual sort of response. "Oh, I know," he says. "One day, I'll get past the second date, and I'll forget all of this. But. I gotta get to that third date, first." He wrinkles his nose. "I don't know that you did anything /wrong/," he says slowly. "Although, it kind of stung when Dusk came in last night." This is a frank sort of statement, and Doug lifts his gaze to meet Micah's. "But that was more about me being petty than anything you did. You've been pretty clear about stuff, without being nasty about it." He manages another small grin. "I really appreciate that."

Micah nods, a little smile making an appearance at Doug's laugh, even. It gets hidden away quickly, behind teeth meeting with his lower lip, another brighter shade of flush coming at the mention of Dusk and potential context. He nods when Doug reports that things have been clear, and at least not taken as deliberately hurtful. “I...really wish there was some simple way t'make things less awkward for you, hon. But I appreciate y'understand ain't nobody /tryin'/ t'make things hard on you, neither.”

Doug lifts his shoulders. "Hey, if I thought anyone was doing it intentionally, I would have moved out over the summer like I thought about doing." He raises his hands. "It is what it is. I'm just going to chalk it down to life experience, and just...well, I guess I've said that before," he says, wrinkling his nose. "And I haven't done very well with it. I think it's just going to be awkward, until I've got something new to distract me." He rolls his eyes. "It wasn't awkward when I had Warlock to work on, but then I hardly saw anyone. Then zombie plague." He pokes a tongue into his cheek. "So yeah. Distraction seems to be the key."

Again, Micah looks somewhat relieved that Doug doesn't feel /targeted/, at least. This doesn't help the small increase in blush at the idea of Doug moving away because of it, or that there's still enough awkwardness that it can only be quelled by high levels of distraction. “I'm so--I mean, I wish it weren't that way. I don't want nobody havin' t'feel uncomfortable. But if it's gonna be the same thing with anybody who's seein' someone, I don't guess there's much /I/ can do about it.” The washer shudders and groans a bit behind him, the sound of draining water soon following. “Projects is nice t'have, either way. Maybe wouldn't /hurt/ if those projects also get y'meetin' folks...”

Doug shakes his head, and offers Micah a lopsided smile. "Hey, it's really okay," he says. "I know I sound pathetic, but I'll get over it. Like I said, as soon as I get distracted with something." He grins, and reaches out to pat his tablet, which brings up Warlock's curious face, briefly. "And I might be good and distracted /and/ around other people, if Warlock gets me on at Stark," he says. "Bastian helped me sort out his language issues, and I need to figure out a couple things that are weird, but he's pretty much my E-ticket." He holds up his hand to cross his fingers. "So keep a good thought, huh?"

Micah nods, returning the smile, though his retrains a sheepish edge. “It's not pathetic. Just...wantin'. Wantin' ain't bad,” he reassures. “An' I'll keep /all/ the good thoughts in mind. Best of luck t'you with it.” The washer stops, suddenly quiet, and Micah turns to switch the load over to a nearby dryer.

"Wanting isn't bad," Doug agrees, reflecting Micah's sheepish smile. "Just frustrating." He grins as he stands up as his own dryer buzzes, and leans against it briefly. "Thanks," he says in response to good thoughts. "I'm really hoping it's good enough. Sebastian said to do something nuts...I'm thinking Warlock might qualify. He learns really quickly." He straightens, opening the dryer to pull out the clothes and pile them in his basket. "I'm sending my resume to them today; hopefully I'll hear from them quickly. At least before the holiday."

Warlock chimes in, then, as his search concludes. "Search completed. Fourteen numbers obtained. Does creatorfriend wish to begin contact, now?"

"Naw," Doug says, grinning at Micah and lifting his eyebrows. "We'll call them from upstairs. Store and save them, though." There's a ping as Warlock does this, even as Doug reaches to claim the tablet and drop it on top of the clothes. "Which is probably what I should do. Turn on the heater for the cats, and send some email. Maybe order a pizza. I'll talk to you later, yeah?"

There's a chuckle from Micah at the recommendation to do something nuts. “Stark /is/ kinda a crazyface. Think he appreciates that in others, too. Good luck an' enjoy the pizza!” With that, he's back to slinging cold-wet clothes into the dryer.

TEXT, some time later: (Doug --> Micah) Heating guy coming tomorrow for estimate. Giradelli & Sons. Just a heads up.

TEXT: (Micah --> Doug) Thanks for setting that up. I'll let people know.