Tuesday, June 27, 2006

“If I concentrate hard enough, I can levitate.”

The washing machine squealed and shook when I did a normal-sized load, refused to rid itself of all the rinse water, and I was tired of wringing the clothes out by hand before I threw their sogginess into the dryer.

After several trips to big box stores, I decided on a lovely model from…and here I’ll name the store in the hopes they’ll read this blog and give me something for the free promotion (like a snow blower)…Sears. It was the easiest sale the guy had all day. I mean, I’d done my homework, I had the stats, the list of my requirements, the cost benefit analysis. I walked into Sears, right up to the washer, pointed to the tall blonde salesguy and said, “I want to buy this washer. I have all the information. I want it delivered next week. Here’s my credit card.” Seriously took less than 5 minutes.

Their delivery service called last night with an automated chick-voice telling me the washer would be delivered this morning. After Sergei left to take the kids to day camp this morning , I puttered…I had the garage cleaned, the basement cleaned (well, a path anyway), so I set out to pay the odd bill, straighten up the book shelves, pet the kitty, and peer obsessively out the living room window waiting for the truck.

When it came, I locked up said kitty and opened the garage door. Guy #1 was opening the back of the delivery truck. Guy #2 was coming around with some equipment or other. Guy #1 walked to the garage with his clipboard and I showed him downstairs to where the old washer sat, waiting to be carted off to the Appliance Retirement Home (at least that’s what I told it).

“No problem,” said Guy #1. We walked upstairs and he went to the truck…rifled around a bit…and came walking back with a wide canvas strap. Just a strap…no dolly, no help…nothing.

“Don’t tell me you’re gonna carry that thing upstairs!”, I said to Guy #1.

He paused for a second, smiled infectiously, and with his eyes twinkling, said, “If I concentrate hard enough, I can levitate.”

Then it hit me…he looked like a younger, WASP-ier David Blaine, and I wondered how much of a magician this guy was.

We both laughed, and his buddy joined him in the trek to the basement. I stood in the garage, surveying all the crap I intend to throw out when I’m in a crap-throwing-out-mood. Not a minute later, both guys came upstairs, each of them hoisting an end of the canvas strap with the old washer neatly riding between them. Like a giant minimalist Snugli with a metal baby inside. They passed by me and smiled. “Coooool!”, I laughed, and they chuckled their way to the truck. They retrieved the new washer, all gleaming and sparkly, the gadget panel covered with protective blue film, the cords trussed up with yellow tape.

“I’m surprised you can carry that thing!”, I exclaimed.

“I can carry refrigerators this way too!”, Guy #1 boasted.

I went inside to putter some more while they did their work, heard them with the canvas Snugli and new washer, down the stairs, clinking of tools and grinding of hose couplings, I’m sorting kids paperbacks from hardcover from Nickelodeon magazines, when Guy #1 appears with the clipboard again.

“All done! Just need your signature here at the “X”.”

“Wow, you’re fast!”, I marveled.

“Well, sure! I checked the power and the water, it’s all working. Sears might be calling you to ask how your service was today, just to let you know.”

“You guys were great. I’ll make sure they know that.”

We walked out the garage where his buddy was raising the lift on the back of the truck. “Thanks” were exchanged, I closed the garage door and set about to cluttering up again, putting the recycling tub where it belonged, detangling the tangle of plastic-connected soda bottles, setting up the pantry I’d had to tear down so the washer could fit in the narrowness of the basement stairwell.

The cat and I went into the laundry room and peeked into my new purchase. Shiny shiny. New everything. The drum was wet where the guy had made sure it would work next time I threw grubby baseball uniforms in there, and delicate dance clothes, t-shirts and bras, beach cover-ups and filthy jeans. The kitty walked on top of it, examining it, making sure it was fit to nap on. It shows how old and domesticated I am when I felt oddly proud somehow, and grownup, and satisfied.

I kept thinking of what the guy said, and how he must say that several times a day when people see him carrying that strap, carting around appliances. Driving around like Santa Claus, bringing folks conveniences, making sure they keep their food cold and their clothes clean and their water soft. How cool would that be, to have a job where you feel like you’ve accomplished something, to know someone’s benefiting from what you do. To boast that you can levitate.


At 2:22 PM, Blogger jo(e) said...

I just love the way you write. I think you can make anything an experience to linger over ....

At 3:08 PM, Blogger Cynical Girl said...

Oh man, I'm so jealous. I want one of those fancy Kenmore front-load washers.

This is where I officially shed my veneer of punkrockedness. Right here. Right now.

At 2:09 PM, Blogger CJay said...

Strapping men flinging appliances around (or was it men with straps?) ..whatever.. it sounds entertaining.

At 9:12 PM, Blogger Orange said...

I got my new stackable washer/dryer unit this month, too. It's so very pleasing to not have to run the spin cycle a second time to get the water out...


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