Over the past two and a half weeks I’ve been back and forth between New York and Massachusetts, for some good reasons, and some not so good. In the past 16 days, I’ve gone from Boston, to Highland Falls, to Babylon, to Center Moriches, back to Boston, then to New York City, back to Boston again, then Boston to Center Moriches and back…twice.
I’m exhausted. Which pretty much means that the 25 pounds of laundry I had sitting in two (two) laundry baskets and several duffel bags in my bedroom were never going to get cleaned. Until my cousin RJ convinced me over the weekend to “send it out,” because RJ is the only person I know that has everything picked up and delivered.
So this morning I packed up as much as I could carry and took it across the street to Cleveland Circle Cleaners. I was actually kind of excited about it. Not having to scour my apartment for enough quarters to do a load of laundry in my basement was a feeling akin to winning the lottery, or finding money in the pocket of a jacket you haven’t worn for months. But when I got face to face with the owner of CCC, a man I’ve known since I was about 20, I suddenly got the uncomfortable urge to fasten myself to a washer and pretend like I came there to do my own chores. I mean, how do you tactfully say “Hi, middle-aged gentlemen I share a faint acquaintance with. Could you please wash my underwear? I’ll give you money.” Like, it’s not normal.
I mean, I’ve sent out my dry cleaning before, and never thought twice about it. But the difference with dry cleaning, I think, is that you’re most likely sending out your best clothes – like your dress pants, your button down shirts…things that probably aren’t that dirty. You give someone your regular laundry, and it’s all over. We’re talking clothes you wore to the gym, pajamas, socks that maybe are muddy because your cousin Matt pushed you over in the yard when you didn’t have shoes on. That kind of stuff. And you’re making someone else clean it. It’s kind of effed up.
Add to all of this, my friend at the laundromat is Japanese, and has a very thick accent, one that I can’t understand one bit. I give the following account as an example:
CCC Owner: Twelve o’clock.
Me: They’ll be ready at 12 tomorrow?
CCC Owner: Yes.
Me: Well, what time will you be here until?
CCC Owner: Eight.
CCC Owner: No, 8 AM.
Me: Will my clothes be ready at 8 AM?
CCC Owner: Noon!
Me: But you won’t be here.
CCC Owner: We’re open until seven.
Me: But what time will you be here ’til?
This went on for a good five minutes. And now I’ve offended the person I’m trying to treat like my maid/celebrity personal assistant. Needless to say I went to work feeling yucky about myself as a person.
On my way home, I passed by Cleveland Circle Cleaners and saw my laundry basket and laundry bag staring back at me from the laundromat window, shaming me into coming in and picking them up. I imagine it was similar to the look I gave my mom all those times she forgot to pick me up at school. But I just don’t have the time. And I’m one pair of underwear away from having to buy granny panties in a three-pack at CVS. So I’m going to have to work past my conscience on this one and let it go. But I don’t feel good about it.