Sunday, October 23, 2005

Chores are evil

The machines in my laundry room take "smart cards" instead of coins. This saves the hassle of scrounging for quarters, but adds the new hassles of having to keep track of your card, only being able to add to the card with bills (so it's like scrounging for quarters in reverse), and only being able to run the dryer for 30 minutes – no more, no less – because that's what happens when you put the card in instead of each quarter giving you 10 minutes or whatever.

So today I started my laundry and after paying for the washer I saw that I had 25 cents left on my card, and a dollar in my wallet. I went back up the apartment and asked Boy if he had any cash. He too had a dollar. So I figured I'd use our two dollars to start the dryers on their first round ('cause that 30 minutes is never enough), run out to the bank, get some groceries, all would be well. Of course, still decaffeinated, I did the math wrong, and when I went down to the laundry room I was 25 cents short for the second dryer. Ironically, I have close to $10 in quarters in my little change bank, but those do me no good.

So, since Sunday is a busy day in the laundry room and it seemed unwise to leave a dryer full of wet clothes not running for too long, lest someone either empty it or get pissed off or both, I changed plans and went off to find the closest ATM, instead of the fee-free one 5 blocks away. I spotted a sign on a deli across the avenue and quickly crossed the street while the Don't Walk light was flashing. Meanwhile, some idiot made a left turn in her car apparently without checking the crosswalk at all. Either way she was in the wrong, since flashing red meant the light was still mine, and full red would have made her turn illegal. I saw her coming and knew she wasn't going to hit me, but it was going to be a question of which of us would go through first. Without slowing, she passed so closely in front of me that the antenna on the back of her car grazed my nose. Almost reflexively, I smacked the back of the car with the back of my hand. This had the desired effect of startling the driver and her passenger, who slowed down as if to make sure they hadn't actually run me over, but it was also surprisingly unsatisfying and surprisingly painful. I'd have been better off letting her hit me and then suing the bitch and retiring.

Safely inside the deli, I swiped my ATM card in the machine and asked for $80. It gave me $60. The receipt says "Withdrawl: $80.00; Dispensed Amount: $60.00," along with the cryptic message, "Transaction was partial reversed," but until it shows up on my online banking I'm going to worry about it.

A block away from the deli I put my hand in my pocket and realized my laundry card was missing. I mean, sure, it only had a dollar on it, but new cards cost money and I had just spend more than that in ATM fees. I went back to the deli, figuring it had fallen out of my pocket when I took out my wallet. Nope. I calmly walked back to the building, thinking maybe I'd left it in the dryer. Nope. It had just vanished. Or run away, as if it was out to get me, which at this point seemed much more plausible.

Resigned and over it, I put money in the machine to get a new card. And this was when I learned that the new cards are pre-loaded ($7 for your laundry, minus the $3 charge for the card itself) and therefore can only be paid for with a $10 bill. I went out AGAIN, and bought a bagel and soda on the corner to break a 20, officially making this both the most expensive and high-calorie load of laundry I've ever done.

I suppose going back to bed now wouldn't be unwise. Too bad it's covered with unfolded laundry.

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