Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Laundry day

I have a multitude of stories to tell from the past few weeks, and not enough time.

So I'll just stick to today's story.

I hadn't done laundry in slightly over three weeks. Shame on me. I was scraping the bottom of the underwear barrel - resorting to digging up thongs with shameless tongue-in-cheek Republican slogans ("Abstinence saves the tart from plunder," brought to you by the GOP).

Therefore, this morning, I finally loaded up my two big sacks of laundry and began hauling them towards the laundromat a few blocks away. Needless to say they were heavier than usual (25 lbs of laundry, it turned out), and my arms started giving way, my hands cramping up, and my grip slipping.

I was approaching the laundromat slowly and unsurely, not entirely certain that I would make it, putting the bags down on my feet every few steps, when an elderly, tiny African-American lady came alongside me, asked if I was going to the laundromat on the corner, and took one of my bags of laundry from me.

I protested, having been raised to believe that I should be the one carrying little old ladies' bags, not vice-versa, but she insisted. I thanked her profusely, from the bottom of my heart, and at the door of the laundromat took my laundry bag back. She turned around and went back the way she came.

It's moments like these that make me remember why I love Harlem so much. Here was this tiny old lady, who extended a hand and went out of her way to help a young, strapping lassie carry her laundry. For no other reason than to be kind. Somehow I don't think that would happen in midtown, or most fancy areas of New York. I might be wrong. Maybe some day I'll take heavy bags of laundry around the city for a day, just to see if people offer to help me.

The sad part is, I think she was in better shape then me, and she couldn't have been a day under 75...


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