31 March 2009

Laundry: An issue when you are traveling for two weeks.

Day Six of my 14-day west coast trip and I was running low on fresh everything. Before leaving Vancouver (Part One) for San Francisco (Part Two), in the name of self-preservation, I decided to do a little laundry. I asked Vic and Marcy if I could do a load or two at their house. Of course, they agreed. (Fact: there are laundry machines everywhere in Vancouver, even in the apartments. It's one of the many lovely things about Vancouver.)

Some friends of Vic and Marcy were hosting a dinner party that night. Vic told me to bring my laundry to the dinner party, and then the plan would be that he and I would cut out early afterwards, head back to their place, and I could do laundry then.

I loaded my lights and darks into a plastic bag, then headed out to meet Vic and Marcy at their friend's apartment across town. I'd never met these people before, so I felt a bit self-conscious showing up with my bag of laundry. I discreetly left the bag by the front door, with my shoes, before being introduced to everybody.

It was basically three couples, their kids--who are all in the three-to-five age range--and me. 

I put my napkin in my lap. I tried not to eat or drink too much. I tried to make a good impression on these people. I was a guest here, and I didn't want Vic and Marcy to regret inviting me along.

About halfway through the meal, a whoop went up in the nearby living room. Something was exciting the kids, who were supposed to be watching a DVD.

"What are they doing in there?" one of the moms said.

"They've gotten into something," one of the dads said.

I noticed what appeared to be one of my T-shirts lying on the floor. I'm thinking, That looks like my T-shirt, when I realize that it is actually my T-shirt.

What the kids have gotten into is my laundry. They've torn a hole in the bag, and they're dragging it around the living room. Laundry is spilling everywhere. A small, very cute boy was throwing my dirty clothes into the air like he was attending a Mardi Gras celebration.

One of the moms chased after the kids, trying to put the laundry back into the torn bag. I tried to do the same, feeling very self-conscious about the visible state of some of my underwear. (I never throw underwear away, no matter how threadbare they get.)

I kept apologizing, because I didn't know what else to do, and the mom kept apologizing, too. We quickly collected everything.

The kids calmed down eventually and watched some of their DVD. And the adults resumed talking over our empty dinner plates at the table. I sat there, trying to follow the conversation, but I had trouble finding my bearings again after the incident.

I never did do laundry that night. It got late, and we never made it back to Vic and Marcy's. A few days later, when I reached San Francisco, I decided to have the hotel do my laundry for me. $130. 

Goddamn it all.

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