Do you remember this show? I do, vaguely. Kids would compete for some kid-approved prize by completing grueling obstacle courses. Inevitably, if they did manage to finish, they would emerge from some sort of tunnel covered in egg yolk, slime, and limp noodles, victorious and eager to accept their booty.
The reason I bring up this random show, is because most, if not all of the time, running errands in New York often feels like an adult version of Double Dare – minus the egg yolk and the coveted prize. Instead of cash and a new television, your reward is clean laundry or a stocked refrigerator. Great, thanks.
Yesterday I set out to do my laundry. My laundromat is about 4 blocks away. I gather my mounds of dirty clothes. I decide that yes, I will wash my duvet cover, even though removing it from its comforter companion is akin to running about 4 miles. Why it requires so much energy, I have no idea, but when I finally do separate these two goliaths, I am sweaty, out of breath, and covered in feathers (hello – Double Dare!) I regroup and carry the granny cart (my Brooklyn version of an SUV) down my three flights of stairs. I return up the stairs to bring the laundry bags down. Back downstairs, I wrestle them into the cart, only to realize that I have left the detergent in the apartment. I mumble to myself. Five minutes later, I am back downstairs, detergent in hand. Let's do this.
Rolling into the laundromat, I am immediately filled with dread. Why are there so many mother-loving people in here!?! It's as though everyone in the boro of Brooklyn is doing their laundry. My heart races. I look desperately around for two empty machines. One on the far right, and one on the far left end. I muscle my way into the fray, practically mauling a small Chinese boy in the process. I cram my clothes, sheets, towels and monster duvet into them at the speed of light; somehow convinced that if I pause for even a second, someone quicker will rip my belongings out and use my machines for their own pleasure. This may sound crazy, but anyone who has forgotten about their clothes in a New York dryer can attest to the horror of seeing their freshly laundered belongings stuffed angrily into some random cart. You snooze, you lose in this fair city. And, strange people fondle your underwear. But – back to the moment – I've done it. My stuff is securely in the washers, and soon it will be in the drier. I, super productive human that I am, will go to the gym while my clothes dry. The granny cart will serve as an air dryer for two white shirts that, if thrown into the drier, will fit me like sausage casings. The worst is over. I have conquered phase one of Saturday laundry.
I arrive back from the gym just in time to see that I have one minute drying time left. I congratulate myself on my timing. Oops, turns out the monster duvet actually turned into a duvet burrito inside the dryer. Still wet, I shove it back in for 20 minutes, Annoying, but not the end of the world. 'Runaway Bride' is on the postage sized television, and a table is open for folding. At last, a half hour later, my cart is ready to roll. I am overjoyed by the concept of clean underwear.
One block, two blocks, three blocks, so close to home. Then: a bump. My shins smack into the cart and it tumps over – my white shirts poised to take the brunt of the fall. I yell an obscenity. I pick the cart up and survey the damage. Without a word, I turn around and wheel the cart back four blocks to the laundromat, throw the shirts back into the washer, wait a half hour for them to be done, roll those four damn blocks back again with a watchful eye, take the laundry bags out of the cart, climb the three sets of stairs to my apartment, go back down to retrieve the cart and repeat the process, and then – THEN – I am done.
And what is my prize?? Wrestling my comforter BACK into the duvet. Awesome.