Tag Archives: eddie bauer

Lame Adventure 442: The Misery of Company

Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that New York City’s population has hit a record high of 8,405,837, so the city with insomnia is getting even more crowded and that can undoubtedly bring out the worst in some inhabitants.

When I leave The Grind at 5:30 I hustle to catch the uptown express at the Chambers Street subway station back to my home base, the Upper West Side. On nights when the stars are in perfect alignment I can return home by 5:54. On other nights, when my train karma is comatose it might be closer to 6:15. On those nights when I have to do laundry, cutting it close is the cause for a level of anxiety that can almost merit professional psychiatric help. A mere nanosecond of delay can make all the difference in getting a washer or not at my laundromat. Last wash is at 6:30 and this is the only laundromat close to where I live.

To further fray what remains of my shredded nerves, the fleet of fully operational washers has been cut in half in recent months. I asked the attendant why the owner does not have the broken washers repaired. She explained that the repairman died. I remembered that guy.

Me: He didn’t look old and he didn’t look ill.

Attendant: He was fifty-five.

I thought:

Me (thinking): Ugh.

I said:

Me: What did he die of?

Attendant: He dropped dead.

Me (thinking): Ow.

I wondered why this dead guy is so irreplaceable? Does he not have a single successor in a city of 8,405,837, or now, 8,405,836? Was he really the only guy in the five boroughs that can work laundromat machine repair?

Last Thursday, my train karma was sluggish. It was rainy and I did not make it back uptown on laundry night until 6:10. I thought that the foul weather would work in my favor and deter customers from doing their laundry, but I was mistaken. When I arrived, every single load washer was in use. Customers avoid the larger washers because they cost more. I noticed that I had never seen any of these customers before. I thought that was strange. It brought to mind the lyrics in an old Doors’ song, People Are Strange:

The Doors: When you’re strange, faces come out of the rain.

I doubt that the customers in my laundromat were what Jim Morrison had in mind when he wrote those lyrics, but he was probably high so anything is possible. One woman hogged three washers. With the Washer Hog dominating forty-five percent of the single load machines, the attendant let me use a double loader, which usually costs $4.50, for $3. A single load machine is $2.50.

Half of the driers are also broken, but I was able to score one when the Washer Hog was plying the attendant with questions. I felt like I had won Powerball or at least five bucks on a scratch off lottery card. When I returned to retrieve my dried clothes, the joint was still jumping. There were three people, two millennials and a man in his sixties, waiting. I could feel three pairs of eyes on me as I removed my load. I figured that someone wanted to pounce on my dryer so I moved fast, what I consider basic public laundromat courtesy. What I didn’t realize was that in my haste to be considerate I dropped a green sock and a pair of blue underwear on the floor. None of my three witnesses said:

Three Witnesses: Hey, you dropped that!

Fortunately, the attendant noticed. Maybe I was mistaken and none of the three had seen my airborne garments. Possibly they had more pressing thoughts on their minds than my fallen sock and underwear?

From the Not Flashy but Practical Collection.

From the Not Flashy but Practical Collection.

When I was zipping my jacket to get ready to leave, the guy in his sixties weaseled over to my cart where I had placed my umbrella. He dipped his hand in and palmed it.

Me: What are you doing with my umbrella, Sir?

He let it go.

Would-be Umbrella Thief: I thought it was mine.

Me: Uh-huh. So your initials are also E.B. for Editta Bendix?

EB umbrella.

EB umbrella.

Would-be Umbrella Thief: It looked like mine. It’s black.

He scurried out into the drizzle, umbrella-less. I guestimate that ninety-one percent of the umbrellas in New York City are black, including the one Would-be Umbrella Thief didn’t bring to the laundromat. As for those initials, I’ll admit it here: they’re  for Eddie Bauer.

Lame Adventure 74: Summer Cleaning

I woke on a sweltering summer Sunday eager to clear my clutter.  Whenever I have no idea what brings on an action or a feeling such as when I find myself getting misty over a manipulative insurance commercial I’ve seen 1000 times before because it features an adorable dog worried about his prize possession bone, I blame it on dwindling hormones advancing the loosening of screws in my head.  There is no other logical explanation for this … Or maybe I am just a sucker for animals.

When I woke on Sunday I shifted my thoughts away from my usual preferred wandering mind topics, sex and food, and instead was thinking about a simple black Gap tee shirt that my sister, Dovima, had given me for my birthday several years ago.  I knew I still had it, but I didn’t know where it was since it has been missing from my tee shirt drawer for so long.  I suspected it was somewhere in my closet, a site sorely in need of de-cluttering.

I opened my closet door and did an archaeological dig for this long lost garment.  This involves moving out storage bins, boxes, bags of socks, sneakers and papers, a vacuum cleaner, vacuum cleaner accessories, a rolling suitcase, and a garment bag I bought in 1994.

Why I bought this garment bag is because I had to take a business trip in 1993 where I had to wear a suit, so I borrowed my friend Django in Jersey’s garment bag. The next year, when I noticed that Eddie Bauer had a garment bag on sale, I thought, “What am I waiting for?  This is a great price!”  I did not put any thought into the reality that prior to that single business trip, I had never once needed a garment bag in my life.  Nor did I think that if I needed to use one again, I could still borrow Django’s.  So, I bought my very own garment bag.  Impulse purchases like that no doubt contributed to the booming economy in those bygone days.

In 1999, five years after that pointless purchase, I finally had a reason to use it, to carry the suit I wore at my mother’s funeral, a suit I donated to charity several years ago.  In 2000, I loaned my garment bag to a guy I worked with to carry a suit he needed to wear at a wedding in the Midwest.  In the ensuing ten years, it has been sitting in my closet in near mint condition completely unused.  I looked at it and thought, “What am I gonna do with this thing?”

Not only do I never use it, I never consider using it.  If I need to pack a suit now, it can fit quite nicely in the very practical rolling suitcase I bought five years ago.  Still, I felt hesitation over unloading this garment bag.  I should add that in the size department, it is also a behemoth.  I would probably dislocate a shoulder carrying it through an airport at this stage in my life.

Not exactly user-friendly size-wise.

To take my mind off this matter, I began looking for my lost tee shirt.  I immediately found several pairs of too short J. Crew shorts I would never wear again unless I wanted to be the featured subject in a “Fashion Don’t” column.  I had no problem placing those in a bag for Goodwill.  I also found several pairs of J. Crew pants I have not worn in years, as well as a pair of chinos, in a hideous butter color, I’ve never worn once.  Those rocketed into the Goodwill bag. Finally, I found my beloved tee shirt in a Bed, Bath and Beyond bag full of hangars.  How it ended up in a bag of hangars is beyond me, but I was happy to have found it.  In fact, I’m wearing it now.

I reorganized my clothing bins and put everything, but the garment bag, back.  I leaned it on my radiator instead.  It was now in limbo, still in my apartment, but no longer cluttering my closet.  I knew I was not going to leave it leaning against the radiator for years.  The only place I could put it to keep it out of the way was back in my closet, my now reorganized and de-cluttered closet.

I asked myself, “Why am I hanging onto this thing?  Why am I suffering separation anxiety about a piece of luggage I have only used once in my life?”  Still brooding, I thought, “But if I do give it away, what good will it do for a fire, famine or earthquake relief victim?”  I concluded, “Let Goodwill figure that one out.”

I donated it.