Monthly Archives: November 2010

Oh Yes My Friend, Your Clothes Are Clean. I Washed Them A Second Time For You.


This morning I was awakened by a stream of white sun. From out my window, through the pale curtains, it burned my shut eyes. Ah Saturday. I could tell, even still under the covers, in the shelter of my bedroom, that it was the perfect day to be outside. A perfect day to enjoy the season. But… there was laundry. Heaps of it. No clean underthings, no clean socks, and my sheets had lost their crispness. Hands down, there was no choice. It simply had to be done. 

My roommate tells me, as we’re in the kitchen chatting about the broken oven, that I can once again do my laundry in the building; the machines are back up and running. Great! I think. It’s cheaper than the laundromat down the block and more convenient of course.

Should I have expected that this would go smoothly? Why wouldn’t I? I wasn’t thinking of the card machines. ‘Insert another bill’, it tells me, after spitting the first one out– a weathered ten that felt close to the softness of a tissue. This being the only one I have, I huff and re-insert it. Rejected again. And then I iron it between my fingers, uncurling the bent corners, pulling it, and stretching it taut, as if this will restore its newness. It tears in half.

Of course, I have already put my clothes in each of the three washers. Thankfully, I had not yet poured in the soap. So, I go to the machines, pack my clothes back into my laundry bags, hoist them over my shoulders and head for the shop down the block. Despite the crowd, there are three machines, empty, waiting for me. In the middle of the line of them there’s a kid who’s mixed all his colors and whites in one. I chuckle and take one machine to the right of him and two to the left.

Now the way these laundromat machines work, you put your quarters in, put your soap in for the rinse cycle, wait seven minutes or so until the lavado/wash cycle begins and put another dose of soap in (and bleach if you’re using it). So I put the first round of soap in and then while waiting for the wash cycle to begin, I go to the folding table and start leafing through a magazine. And in the background there’s a crazy lady talking aloud to herself. She appears miffed at her chore of laundry that seems to have been put on her for the day. I get caught up listening to her rant:

Remember– she’s talking to herself!

“NOooooo. I didn’t have anything to do today. I LOOOOVE doing laundry. Take your time he tells me. Take your time! Ha. Right. Because I want to be here all day.  I’ve been here two hours already. And fold ’em neat he says. Yeah you know I fold ’em neat. I don’t fold ’em any other way.”

And on and on this goes. So I’m not paying as much attention as I should be.

So after, in my  estimation, the seven minutes have passed, I go back to my machines. I couldn’t not pay attention to the ranting woman, and obviously on this Saturday I couldn’t multi-task either. I go to the first of my three washers and pour round two of soap in. And then to the next and then the next. And then at the end of the line of machines I see through the window of one, my grey and white leopard-print pajama pants. They’re in with the rest of my lights, but there is no spinning, no water, no suds. And then I realize what I have done. I started up some else’s finished load, pouring in both rounds of soap. Then I poured round two soap into the load belonging to the kid who mixed all of his colors together. So after all of this I tended to only one of my own loads, and in the process, rewashed a perfect stranger’s.  

Yes, yes, I managed to make it through the day without losing anything and thank God without any accidental bleaching (of my own things or anyone else’s). It could have indeed been worse. I did miss a good chunk of the sunshine and spent the day tearing up ten dollar bills and washing other peoples’ clothing. Really though, what is a better Saturday?


Loot Magnet and Luckiest Chick on the Planet

* To those of you who might be paying attention: This post was written over a month ago, when Ben Affleck’s movie, ‘The Town’, was still playing in theaters. Sometimes I move slowly. Hence, I am only now getting around to posting it.

Last night, after an interesting taxi ride, I was reminded of a great New York story that I never wrote about. It was my own little version of “Cash Cab”. Only, instead of there being any trivia, the money was sort of just…mine. It happened years ago, long before I started this blog—long before WordPress even existed. 

I was out one night with my friend Adam. We had met up for a couple of drinks and then decided to call it early and head to my apartment to watch a movie. Outside, the rain was falling in sheets and the wind was whipping angrily. The idea of trudging to a subway, even if only mere blocks away, was just plain miserable. So we hailed a cab. The driver pulled up to the curb and I, being nearest the street climbed in first, Adam following close behind. So I’m one foot into the car and I pick my head up to slide across the seat in front of me and there, strewn across it, is a literal mess of money. Instantly, a voice inside my head began to shout, “Pick it up! Pick it up!” So I did. And as I did, I realized these weren’t ones. They weren’t fives, or tens or even fifties. They were HUNDRED DOLLAR BILLS. And there were seven of them!

For a second I thought I should say something to the driver, as if it were maybe his, or as if someone might be calling to claim it. And then my street smarts kicked in and told me to keep my mouth shut; that it wasn’t the cabby’s and that whoever it was that so carelessly dropped seven Benjamins in the back of a New York City taxi, probably wasn’t missing it anyway. So I bit down on my tongue and stuffed the wad of cash into the bottom of my bag. The excitement was killing me. I leaned over to Adam and calmly whispered the news, to him. He looked at me as if to scream, when I quickly threw my palm up to cover his mouth. For the rest of the ride we sat in silence, about to burst. 

After what seemed like a far more treacherous than usual climb up the stairs, we finally stepped into my apartment where I pulled the fortune from my bag and spread it out on my kitchen table. For fifteen minutes we jumped up and down screaming, “We’re rich, we’re rich!” And then I divided it—$400 for me, $300 for Adam.

Now this kind of thing doesn’t happen often to a gal, I know. It’s even less likely, that it would ever happen twice.

So my friend Milda and I go to see Ben Affleck’s recent movie, “The Town”. If you don’t know, this is a story about bank robbers. And mind you, they are dealing with insane amounts of cash. The movie gets out and we decide to go for a glass of wine. And the one turns into two. An hour and a half has passed and at this point it’s too late for me to take the subway. So I hail a cab. (And I sigh, that yet again I’m spending twenty bucks to get home instead of two and change.) But ah yes, safety first! So we arrive in Brooklyn and we’re approaching the intersection near where I live and because I speak too late, the cabbie misses his chance to turn and drop me right in front of my building.

“That’s ok,” I say to him. “I can get out here.” But instead of getting out via the left door, (which I would have, had he dropped me in the right place) I got out via the right. And as if this was playing out according to some master plan, as I squeeze the handle to exit, I see, in the side pocket of the door, a neatly folded WAD of money. And I think to myself: “Holy shit! Again? I have got to be the luckiest chick on the planet.” Having been through this before, my instincts kick in immediately. I nonchalantly grab the wad, close my palm around it, say my farewell and thank you and exit the vehicle.

But recall—I just got out of seeing this movie, “The Town”. It centers around people stealing money. So my mind starts racing. And I quicken my pace. I get the to the building and because it’s past ten, the outside front door is locked. I turn the key viciously, as if someone is behind me. Because someone must be following me. Someone has to have set me up. They know I have this money. And it’s not just money. It’s dirty money. It’s drug money. Or murder money. Someone needed to get rid of it, so they set me up, because I am the perfect target. The innocent victim. (Don’t ask me to explain the logic behind this! I suppose sometimes my imagination can run a little wild.)

So I get into the building’s front door. And I look behind me again. No one is there. I make it through the second door. Still, the coast is clear. I run to the elevator and enter vigilantly, in case someone is hiding inside. Come on Andrea!! Really. The elevator door opens, I run down the hall, unlock the door to my apartment, slam the door behind me, lock it and run to my bedroom to take a deep breath. Safe.

And then I start to smile, remembering that once again fortune has found me. What will I buy with the money? How much is even there? It looked like hundreds. It had to be at least $500. Should I buy the leather motorcyle jacket I’ve been eyeing? The yummy leather bag I saw at J Crew? Expensive highlights? Dinner at Daniel? Ahh! There’s so much I could do.

And then I take the money from my bag and look at it…more closely…and see…that it’s fake. Phony bills. Some advertising gimmick. As I realized that this meant there would be no leather jacket, no new bag, no dinner at Daniel, my smile started to fade. But then I laughed, thinking of my panic minutes before, and the whole scenario I’d dreamt up. I might not be cut out to ever really rob a bank, but a good game of cops and robbers? That I think I’d do quite well with.


Ah, To Be Freshly Pressed

If I could have a super power, it would be one that would allow for me to insert extra hours into the day, so that whenever I was feeling that the standard 24 were not sufficient for me to get done what I wanted to get done, I’d have a solution. Of course there would have to be a limit as to how often I could use the power, otherwise the calendar would never move.

I don’t blog enough. I’m aware of that. I’m envious of those who find time to post daily and wish I could be better at that (hence my wish for the super power). But beyond the ‘how often’ with blogging, there is an issue of the ‘what’. What is it that people want to read? What exactly will get me the attention I want, or really the attention that I need so that people will know my name when it’s time my book comes out? The other day my inbox went from having 20 unread messages in it to having 16,284. It seems unreal, I know. But have you heard of Nerdy Apple Bottom?

A few weeks ago I started a daily ritual of logging onto wordpress during lunch to look at the Freshly Pressed page where a sample of the day’s most noteworthy blog posts are in the spotlight. Sure, it might be a better use of my time if I were drafting my own new posts but, a) I’m reading some really good writing, some of which is written by my competition and b) I’m feeling extra motivated, wanting very badly to be amongst the lucky ones on Freshly Pressed. (Thank you Freshly Pressed for lighting a match under my ass.)

So the inbox explosion—it happened the other day after logging on [to Freshly Pressed] and seeing a post titled, “My Son Is Gay.”” Hmm,” I wondered, “I’ll have to see what that’s about.” So I clicked on it. It was an essay written by a mother whose little boy wanted to dress up as Daphne from Scooby Doo for Halloween. Instead of telling you the whole story, I’ll let you click on the link above. What I will say was that reading it, the hair on my arms stood up, it was so emotional. And when I was finished, there was no way I could leave this woman’s blog without thanking her. So I clicked on the comment link, wrote her a little note and went to hit “send”. But before actually doing that, I checked a little box that asked if I wanted to see others’ comments as they were posted. “Sure,” I thought, figuring it would be interesting to see what others had to say. That’s where I made my mistake…

…because I never imagined 37,000 comments. Who can read 37,000 comments? Certainly not I. But the email alerts kept coming. And not one or two. Hundreds…thousands…by the minute, continuously rolling in, like the oil from the BP rig that kept spewing this past summer, day after day after day. Thankfully, before all 37,000 of the comments reached me, I was able to redirect any incoming ones to my recycle bin. But as for the 16,000 that did make it to my inbox, I’m still working on deleting them… a chunk at a time in fear my computer might spontaneously combust.

Of course I wish I had the time to read each and every reply in support of the anonymous mother writer. And I congratulate any blogger who can garner such a wealth of attention. Now, for brainstorming!

Should I ever make it to a point where my readership hits the quadruple digits and every one of my visitors takes time to comment, I promise, I will somehow find the time to read every one… even if I do have to fit it into my 24-hour day.

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