Today started out pretty nice, really. I woke up around noon after a lovely sleep. I had pancakes with my niece at my favorite breakfast place (who cares if it was lunchtime for the rest of the world).
I had a few chores I wanted to tackle today and I was feeling like I could probably make it happen. But what should have been an easy jaunt to the laundromat turned into the most stupid day ever.
See, it’s shedding season. The cats are dropping fur in clumps all over my house but they are especially fond of leaving their fur all over my bed. I mean, we all spend a lot of time there. It was pretty gross this morning when I dragged myself out of bed.
I resolved to get my big bedding – comforters, quilts that kind of thing, to the laundromat because they’re just too big to do properly at home. And it would take very many steps to get it done at home – physical steps from the second floor to the basement and up and down and up and down. The laundromat is so much easier. They have giant machines and even better than that, there’s an attendant who will do your laundry for you. You drop it off and pick it up when it’s done. Easy peasy!
I mustered up my energy and dragged three giant laundry bags from my second floor to the first floor then out the door to my car. I figured since I was going I should do all of the dirty comforters and quilts. I have a few. It’s kind of a sickness in and of itself, my obsession with my bedding. I made it to the car and felt pretty victorious.
That is my laundry in the vestibule of the local laundromat. I dragged it in there all by myself. I dialed the number I usually dial for the attendant – but nobody answered. There was a sign that said “attendant will be back shortly.” There were some moderately shady people hanging around the laundromat and I wasn’t sure it was wise to leave my precious bedding unattended. So I thought, no big deal! I’ll just wait.
One of the guys in the place walked to the back of the laundromat where I was waiting and told me that the attendant would be back. “He usually pops in every hour or so. He should be back soon.” So I waited. I called the number a few (15) more times and still got no answer. And I waited some more.
“Sometimes Clark is over at the St. Vincent de Paul store hanging out with the girls there. You could walk over and check.” Ok. That’s not so far. I can do that. I’ve been there for like half an hour now and I’m starting to feel stupid. I head toward the front door and I notice that it is now pouring down rain. I turn around and walk back in to the back of the laundromat and plop back down on the little chair by the unattended attendant’s desk. I wait some more.
I’m chatting with the other patrons by now. Making friends. Trying to gauge whether or not they seem like the kinda folk who would steal a person’s bedding. It’s really hard to tell! I walk back to the front of the store, notice the rain has stopped, then head out the front door down the street to the St. Vincent de Paul store about a block down Main Street.
“Hey is Clark here? I’m looking for the laundromat guy,” I say, to the girl with the green hair who works in the charity store.
“I think he’s gone. He left around four,” she says to me. It’s now 4:45pm. And I’ve been hanging around the laundromat like a creeper for almost an hour completely torn about my next move. Walking back and forth. CallIng that stupid telephone number over and over again. Should I stay or should I go now? The Clash had no idea how deep those lyrics were.
I begin to ponder my situation. This whole thing is happening because I don’t have it in me physically to drag those three giant bags back to my car and then back into my house all without getting them cleaned, goddamit. I had a goal! I wanted this goal accomplished. But my body was about kaput. I knew if I dragged those three bags back to the car I’d never come back.
This is life with multiple sclerosis.
You plan elaborate schemes for accomplishing ordinary tasks. You obsess over these tasks and how doing them shouldn’t be so hard. For Christ’s sake, I looked like the healthiest person in that place. I definitely had the most teeth. I should not be having an existential crisis over my bedding.
I wait for twenty more minutes before deciding to leave a goddamn note and walk out the door (without my dirty bedding). Screw it. If someone wants my cat hair infested comforters that badly they can have them. I just didn’t care anymore.
I took myself to get ice cream out of sheer frustration. I’d wasted a whole lot of this day trying to get one goddamn thing accomplished. Just one! And I was really, really tired from the effort. And I still didn’t have clean bedding. I think I deserved that ice cream.
People will say (I can hear them saying it, as I type), why don’t you ask for help? Wait until someone is available to carry the heavy shit. Call someone! Ask a friend. Or a relative. Or anyone at all really! Don’t waste your energy doing stupid things like carrying laundry all around town and doing a walk about looking for Clark.
Sometimes you just want to do the silly, stupid things yourself. Sometimes asking for help just makes you feel like someone helpless who can’t even do the littlest, most basic life tasks. Believe it or not, sometimes having to ask for help to do little, stupid things just feels dumb so you do them yourself. And you end up feeling trapped in the laundromat because you don’t know how to muster the energy to leave and come back again.
About an hour after I finally got home my phone rang. It was Rick from the laundromat. He had my laundry and I’d probably be able to pick it up a couple of hours or so. He’d give me a call. He starts work at 5:30pm on Saturdays. “You could have just left your stuff it would have been fine,” he tells me.
He called me back when it was time for pick up. I saved that number in my phone. I will never be held hostage by my bedding ever again. I’ll just call Rick. Get the info, then leave and do something slightly more pleasant than feeling stranded at the laundromat.
It occurred to me that I could have done the laundry myself in all of that time I sat there waiting. It would have been done. Of course I didn’t have this brilliant thought until after I got home with those giant bags of clean laundry and dragged them back to the second floor so I could put clean bedding back on the bed. Finally.
This is the best part of world’s dumbest story: Look who’s all snuggled up on top of me and my newly laundered comforter. If you could see his kitty facial expression you’d notice he’s looking rather smug.
Today was a dumb day. But I did get pancakes (and ice cream). I have clean bedding. I have Rick’s digits saved in my phone for all eternity (so this stupidity does not ever need to be repeated). And I’m back in the happiest place on earth.
And I did it myself. Take that, MS. Take that.