Monday, October 11, 2010

new york minutes: the plunger

I have arrived. Wahoo! Mom and Dad and I left my hometown in southeastern Massachusetts at 7am Saturday, October 9. Four hours later, I was on East 79th street. Home for the next year. I know I've said this before, but lets just say it again. WOAH. WOW. GOLLY GEE. I'm a New Yorker now!

Of course, with my life being my life, things don't always go completely smoothly. While roomie was out running some errands, I remembered that I had to pee. That's a thing about people that are in service industries (waitresses, bartenders, hairdressers, taxi drivers): they always have to go to the bathroom, but they're in such a habit of holding it (because their jobs demand that they only pee once every 7 hours), that it can be easy to forget that your bladder is extremely full. Anyway, I overloaded my new, sensitive NYC toilet with too much TP. Dang. So I trekked up the street, having lived there for approximately three hours, to find somewhere I could buy a plunger. Lucky me, there's a D'Agostino's and a Duane Reade right on York ave.

At this point I looked a hot mess. I was wearing some old running shorts and a hoodie and flip flops, and I had just moved my entire life up 5 flights of stairs (ok. so some movers did the bulk of the work. sue me), so I looked a little greasy. On top of that, despite being alone, I was embarrassed over my clogged toilet. No plunger to be found at D'Ags. I was a little discouraged after this. All I wanted to do is take a shower and finish setting up my room and I was a little culture shocked and I didn't really know my way around, and if the drugstore didn't have a plunger I didn't know what I'd do because I didn't know where the hardware store was (still don't). Thank the stars, Duane Reade had 1 plunger left.

Now, there is no dignified way to buy a plunger. It's like buying condoms or Immodium A.D. (which helps with incontinence). Even if the checkout people don't give it away, you know what they're thinking. So I headed up to the counter with my plunger fit for a plumber (I mean seriously, this thing was industrial), but as soon as I swiped my debit card, the system went down. There I am, with a growing line behind me, my first four hours in NYC with a plunger in hand and no way to pay for it. The checkout girl shrugs, "System's down. Sorry." My face burned red. Stupid plunger, sitting up there jauntily on the counter. Everyone knows I clogged my toilet. Now I have to go back to my apartment and get my cash and then do the unthinkable: come back to the drugstore and try to buy the plunger again.

So back down the block I went, sweating in the late afternoon humidity, up 5 flights of stairs, back down 5 flights of stairs, and back up the block to buy my stupid plunger to fix my stupid, pansy NYC toilet. Then, to put a cherry on top of the perfect adventure, I had to ask the clerk if I could buy the plunger because, you see, I left the damn thing on the counter as I slunk away the first time, and there was only one left in the entire store. I reiterate: there is no dignified way to do this.
Me: "I was in here before...."
Checkout girl: (stares blankly)
Me: (softly) "I have to buy the plunger..."
Checkout girl: "Huh?"
Me: (louder now) "I have to BUY THE PLUNGER."
Checkout girl: "Do you want a bag?"

I decided against it. I walked back to my apartment with the plunger slung over my shoulder, my dignity ruined.

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