Dance term 3- Pirouette:Jess vs. the laundry machine

I only brought a tiny suitcase of clothes with me to NY. I assumed that a week in, I would have found a place that I wanted to stay for at least 6 months and could have my parents send me some of the things I left behind (like more than one week’s worth of underwear and socks). Things didn’t exactly go according to plan.

I’m staying in this apartment in what was described as ‘Williamsburg’ but is really east williamsburg- basically bushwick. Anyways, I’m  moving out at the end of the month so I haven’t requested anything still stuck in the midwest. I had some spare time on saturday afernoon, so it seemed a good time to clean the few things I brought with me, particularly since I’m not sure if I will have laundry in the next building where I reside. Here’s where things got tricky:

problem #1- getting quarters

I went to the crappy grocery store 2 blocks away where the people behind the cash register barely speak English. When I handed over my debit card for the detergent and then three bucks cash to have changed into quarters, the girl stupidly nodded when I said “I need these back in quarters’ and proceeded to use it to pay for half my detergent. This was a vaguely irrevocable mistake, as I had only two bucks cash left in my wallet and kind of wanted to save them if I was ever in a tip emergency for drinks and things. But I needed the quarters so there went the end of my cash.

problem #2- the machines

first of all, I had planned to start this whole process the night before, but the l. room closed at nine, just as I had recieved my two bucks worth of quarters. Saturday I got up, went to the basement, dumped my stuff in an empty machine, filled it up with my newly purchased detergent, and then tried to figure out where to insert my quarters. Guess what? the machine only takes specially purchased laundry cards, which cost ten bucks in cash. Great, so now I have all these quarters weighing down my otherwise empty wallet and a machine full of detergent soaked clothes. (I feel you, Vincent from Project runway!)

Problem #3- no atms

Needing to get ten bucks for the card, i left my stuff in the machine and went to the awful little deli/grocery across the street from my building. Sometimes with a debit you can get cash back, right? Maybe they will allow me to get some cash if I buy an overpriced water bottle. Nope! And there are no PNC atms anywhere near bushwick.

Problem #4- bothering the neighbors

I decide that the only way to solve this problem is to knock on some doors and offer people my hard-earned quarters in return for their cards. I first try my next door neighbor, who says she doesn’t have a card and uses the place a block away for laundry. So I figure, rather than trying to bang down more doors, i will just gather my stuff (dripping with ‘cheer!’) and take it over there. So i head to the basement, and there is a youngish lady there who looks pretty nice so I ask her my annoying ‘can I give you quarters in exchange for a card swipe’ question. I figure I will deal with needing a dryer later. One problem at a time. She also barely spoke english, but gave me a a card swipe for free. How nice!

Problem #5 needing a dryer

So time finally comes when I need to transfer my stuff. by this time, the guy that is living here until tomorrow is sitting in the living room along with the people who showed me the room and are apparently moving in to his room once he moves out. (Brother and sister in one bedroom – creepy, or is it just me? ) The guy, an asian with a brit accent- is pretty nice so I asked him if I could use his card, especially since he’s moving out soon and won’t have any use for it. I gave him 1.25 which was a 50 cent rip-off to me. But luckily, he agreed and an hour later, my mostly-dry clothes were clean and lining the edge of my loft bed like mildly soggy multi-colored curtains. Stupid bad dryer.

One of my Gpa's Brooklyn paintings, 'unnamed clothesline 1993'

So the word of the day was ‘Pirouette’= literally, whirl. (pronounced- pee-roe-wet)

This is a turn done on one foot in a variety of positions. Skilled dancers can perform multiple revolutions.

Not only was this experience a whirl-wind for me, (Pirouette wind!) but finally, I got the washer and dryer to whip my clothes into cleanliness. Thanks for the soapy pirouettes, laundry machine, my butt appreciates it.

4 thoughts on “Dance term 3- Pirouette:Jess vs. the laundry machine

  1. I love this! Ballet terminology education with an amusing (in retrospect) story attached. You’ll make me into a dance-lover yet!

  2. Thank you for the phonetic spelling of pirouette! However, I must add that pee-roe-wet gives me the heebie jeebies.

  3. I’ll bet your Grandpa never imagined when he painted “unnamed clothesline” in ’93 that it would complement your wonderfully and very amusing “pee-roe-wet” tale. As a kid growing up in Brooklyn in the “20s & ’30s, he might even have a few funny laundry stories of his own to tell. We’ll never know, of course. But the “back-stories” behind all that laundry in his painting might be fascinating.

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