August 26, 2010

Laundry Day Conversations

When I lived at NYU's Third North dorm for a few months in the Summer of 1997, I hooked up with Jesus-bearded NYU student named David who used to wait in eager anticipation for girls taking their laundry in the elevator down to the basement.

"Laundry day girls are the best," he would say. "...They're usually not wearing a bra."

Today was my final day of laundry in my old neighborhood before moving, and although I was wearing a bra, I was clad in tiny shortie shorts and a too-tight Whitesnake t-shirt whose bottom hem roll turns it into an out-of-style belly shirt. With laundry cart in tow, I stopped into D'Agostino's to buy a cucumber and some chicken to tide me over before the move on Sunday.

I rolled up to the chicken case and waited patiently while the meat man restocked the organic thighs and removed the expired ones. I felt a little self-conscious with my own bruised thighs so exposed in the fluorescent light.

"Oh, excuse me," he said, and started to move away, but I stopped him.

"No, no, no rush, I can wait."

He kept stocking but then thought twice about it and started to say, "I can't let you..." but I stopped him again and said, "Listen, you've got five left. I can wait for five. I'm not in a rush."

The meat man's gaze - behind his thick spectacles and squinted eyes - alternated between me and the chicken, until he finally said, "It's nice to see you...It's rare to see someone so nice...and so beautiful."

"Oh, well, that's very kind," I said. "But I'm not usually so nice. And I'm usually much more beautiful."

With only the slightest pause, he responded, "Well, I don't see how it would be possible to be any more beautiful than you."

Then he assured me that he was married and wasn't giving me a line, thanked me again, and let me shop for my chicken.

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1 comment:

  1. What I have always liked about the "laundry day" look (and the like) with women is that you seem them in an unguarded, unconstructed moment. You don't get dolled up to do laundry, put on fancy clothes, or put on the attitude and personality that you want others to see. You're just you, not the product of your self-construction. It's amazing to see that in someone without having to cut through the layers of shell we all build around ourselves.