There has been many challenges in this life. Some of them spring up ahead of you and need to be dealt with by necessity. Other challenges exist of our own creation. This is a quick story about the later.
In my college days, as brief as they were, I got into a bit of mischief. I went to college for only one year before I decided that I had wasted enough time and money pursuing something that I wasn't very interested in. I lived on campus in the dormitory of a school that will remain unnamed.
Being the naive farm kid that I was (and still am), it took me a little while to become used to the concept of community living. For instance, I wasn't used to the clanking around of others during the night. I wasn't used to sharing a sink to shave or a shower to wash in. At my parent's house, I had a whole floor to myself. So, this concept of "living with others" wasn't very appealing, and was very foreign to me.
One thing in particular that was troubling was laundry. I knew how to do my own laundry, but I didn't have much practice at it since my beautiful mother took care of that stuff for me. Sorry, but I was very, very spoiled (God bless you, mom!). It never really occurred to me upon moving out that this would be a task that I would have to do on a regular basis.
When I moved into the dorm and got settled, it took me about a week before I was re-wearing and spot cleaning my clothes. I needed to wash some clothes. Lame.
I had used a coin operated wash machine before, but I had no idea how long it would take to run a cycle of clothes. I figured it had to be around an hour or so. I had an Economics class at 7:30 AM (I know, nothing like Economics to wake you up, right?). I would put a load in at 7:20, go to class, and then I would switch the load to the dryer at 8:35 after my first class and before my second class at 9:00AM. Neat. Clean. Simple.
I did this with pretty sound success for a month or so. Then, one day, I came back from Economics and my clothes were laying on the floor. Apparently somebody else could wait no longer for me to get back (like 10 minutes), pulled my clothes out of the washing machine, and threw them on the floor. I mean, I don't think my clothes leaped from the washing machine by themselves. Whoever the culprit was, they didn't put my clothes into a basket. They didn't put my clothes on top of the dryer. They put them on the floor. On the dusty, dirty floor. On the community floor. On the icky, dusty, dirty community floor. My clothes were sitting there on the floor in a puddle of water. Gross.
Their clothes were still in the washer and the washer was in the first stage of washing so this event had occurred very recently. Somebody else had decided to use the dryer (I am not sure where they got wet clothes, but I think they were from another floor), so both the washer and dryer were full.
There I sat. What was I supposed to do with a load of wet clothes and no means to dry them? Although I was a little bit pissed, I didn't really do anything other than grab my basket and throw my wet clothes in and take them back to my room. Once I had them safely in my room, I draped them over my loft to let them begin to dry. I figured I would have time to fully dry them later, and I had to get to class. I wanted to wait around to see who else was doing laundry, but class called and I didn't want to be late.
The day wore on. I went to my classes and stopped back to the dorm in between each class to try to dry my clothes, but the dryer was full all day. For the afternoon, it was full of clothes that somebody left in it, but either way, it was full and I wasn't about to throw other people's clothes on the floor despite what was done to mine.
I was done with my last class around 4:30 PM, and the dryer was still busy. My clothes were pretty much dry from hanging by then, so I moved them from the loft into the closet. I was done, I guess. I asked around to somehow try to find out who the person was that pitched my wet clothes on to the floor. By now, I wasn't really upset at all. I was just going to tell them that I am back from class at 8:30, so I would appreciate it if they wouldn't do that again. Fair enough, yes?
It took a couple days for me to find out who it was that ejected my clothes from the washing machine. I asked him about the details of the situation and he turned beet red and said he had no idea the clothes were mine. He said he was sorry. He said he was doing his laundry on a different floor (where he lived) and somebody did the same thing to him and he was pissed so he took it out on me. It was only an emergency that he got his clothes done, he said, because he had a job interview and he had nothing to wear. He said he needed his clothes clean and dry by 10 AM. He apologized again and I told him not to worry about it. I told him next time, though, I would have my clothes out by 8:30, so if he could just wait 10 minutes, I would appreciate it. Problem solved. Or, so I thought.
A week or so passed, and I was getting down to re-wearing and spot cleaning again, so I decided to wash some clothes. I got up around 7:10, loaded the washing machine at 7:20 and headed to class. I went to my Economics class and dropped by the dorm between classes to switch my laundry. What did I find? Again, my clothes were wet laying on the floor. I left my basket there in case somebody decided that it was more important for them to wash their clothes than it was me. But, my clothes weren't in it. My basket was gone. Either it grew legs, or the person that dumped my clothes took my basket as well.
Needless to say, this didn't sit very well. To say I was pissed off would be putting it lightly. I stormed directly to the room where the villain from the last incident lived. He wasn't there. I waited around, but he didn't show up. I caught up with him later in the day (I was still very angry) and asked him about it. He said he had no idea what I was talking about. He said it wasn't him. I asked him to ask around because this was the last time my clothes were going to end up on the floor. I was pissed. I got my clothes dried in my room again.
About a week later, I walked into a conversation in a friend's room. They were talking about doing laundry and how this guy they know and his jock friends were messing around with people for fun. They were pretty sure that nobody could pin anything to them. They didn't really care if somebody could. They were sure that nobody would stand up to them, anyway. It was a big joke to them. Nice gag. Original.
This would not do at all. As they say, two can play at this game. I guess they also say that paybacks are a bitch. I started researching them. I started paying attention. I got these guys' class schedules. I started paying attention to their time habits. I started building my course of vengeance.
I went to the local mall's dollar store and bought bundles and bundles of red socks. You know, just cheap, plain, red socks. I had my weapons. I knew their schedule. My plan was set.
I waited until one of them put a load of light colors in the washing machine. I waited until they left. Then, I struck with a red finger of revenge. I switched the wash water to hot and threw in a red sock. Then, I waited patiently until the cycle was almost over, and pulled the rebellious red sock back out. I switched the water setting back to cold. Mysterious. Sneaky.
To make things better yet, I slipped the spent red socks into the garbage cans in their rooms. Or, by the doors of their rooms. Or, in their foyers. Somewhere that wasn't too obvious, but wasn't too hidden, either. Somewhere where somebody else could walk by and casually see it.
One of them would find a sock in the other one's room and then that person became "caught red handed." This erupted all sorts of arguments and fighting between this group of wanna-be pranksters. Each of them were sure it was one of the other ones doing this to them. Each time a planted sock was found, it only reinforced their suspicions. They were a suspicious bunch that trusted not one inside their group. Every one of them was a suspect to the rest of the group. Every one of them was being watched by the rest of the group. They were paranoid.
Later on, I started just leaving the socks in the load. Who cared anyway? I did this quite a few times. In the next couple weeks I watched a transformation take place. They were all turning pink. The group was livid. They started doing their laundry on different floors. I followed them. I accidentally pinkened some other people's clothes, but with the red socks slipped into the pranksters' rooms or garbage cans, they took the heat for it. Slowly but surely most residents' light clothes began to become pink. Their dress shirts were pink. Their socks were pink. Their jeans even had a pink hue. Everything from white towels to their school logo shirts were all tinted pink.
The pranksters tried to watch their laundry loads more closely to prevent further pinkening, but it took only seconds to slip in a sock and they were so busy trying to blame one another that they paid little attention to me.
One of the most challenging things I have ever done it to keep a straight face when they asked me about it. I never took any blame since they never could pin any of it on me. I never told anyone and I never revealed that I had any hand in any of this. My vengeance was a private matter.
They say that revenge is a dish best served cold. I think in this case, it is a dish that is best served hot and with a red sock.