Boarders, Volume 5

new_york_state_department_of_motor_vehicle_thumbI went to the DMV last week to finally get the title to my car changed, and they gave me a routine form to fill out. As I went down the list I scribbled in each entry, until I got to “Home Address.” I started to write in “7478 East Street” as a matter of rote, but I stopped myself before I finished the “4.” It was something so simple, but scratching out those two numbers was incredibly difficult to do. I’ve already been gone from that physical address for nearly 3 weeks now, but to me it’s still home.

This place certainly isn’t.

I ended up writing down the PO Box because what they were really asking for was the mailing address, but it was one moment in about a million lately where I have been acutely aware of the things I took for granted. Laundry is another. I’ll explain. Having our own washing machine and dryer was a definite bonus, even though our basement had a low ceiling, and even though I had to bend over almost double to fit down there. But it was ours, and I could wash clothes anytime I needed to. I just loaded up a basket and went to town.

Now, though, I tiptoe to the basement here with a basket in my arms and my fingers crossed. If I see clothes in either the washer or dryer I am loath to move them because I’ve gotten yelled at for moving clothes before, for taking a load out and putting my own in, even though I put the retrieved clothes in one of our baskets like a good citizen. If there is nothing in the washing machine, and I am alone in the house, I usually throw in one load and pray that the timer goes off on it before anyone else arrives.

I don’t want to have to explain why the machine is tied up. I’ve honestly even thought about going down to the village laundromat to wash a few loads just so I don’t have to explain and get “the look.” I’m trying my best to avoid “the look,” and I’ve done pretty good so far today. It’s all about looking at the shadows instead of directly into the light. Avoid the light, that’s the ticket. I totally took being able to wash our clothes for granted, and I’ll never take it for granted again.

Sometimes it’s those little things that remind us of what we’ve forgotten, that help us put things into perspective. Like a form in the DMV that asks for something that should be simple. But nothing is ever simple, not these days, and it’s in how I adapt, that’s what will prove my mettle. That, and a timer that goes by fast enough so I’m out of the basement before anyone else needs the washer.

Sam

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