I’m 33 years old. I’m not ashamed or afraid of my age anymore, but I do know that certain aspects of my life make me feel like a twenty-something rather than the highly educated and sophisticated 33 year-old woman that I am.
One of these instances came up last week. It was a long week: I was recovering from my New Years Eve adventures, daily workouts, and going back to work (yeah, I had mandatory time off for school closures). Walking long distances in the snow and working out every morning caused me to have more dirty clothes than usual. Needless to say, by Wednesday evening, my laundry basket was heaping.
So, on Thursday, I decided that I needed to do something about the dirty clothes mess so I went to Fred Meyer to buy a roll of quarters. Upon entering Fred Meyer, I went to the customer service desk. “Hello,” I started. “Can I buy a roll of quarters?”
The twenty-two year old behind the counter didn’t even bat an eyelash as she answered. “Nope.” She continued to organize the junk behind the counter.
“Um… can I buy any quarters?” I tried again.
“You can buy $2 in quarters,” she told me, looking up briefly.
I held out two dollars and asked for the change.
As she handed me the two dollars in quarters, she told me, “It’s a till thing. You can only get two dollars per register, but that does work at every register.”
I tilted my head slightly, “So I can just go to every register and ask for quarters?”
She shrugged her shoulders, “I’m not going to tell you what you can or can’t do.”
And so, I walked around to the other side of the registers and scoped out which cashier looked sympathetic. I did the math and realized that I only needed four more dollars worth of quarters to do both loads so I only had to find two sympathizers. I went to the first check out guy.
When he gave me the quarters, he smirked slightly, “Laundry day?”
“Yep,” I said. But rather than play it cool, I felt the need to jump in to tell him that I work too late to go to the bank. It probably wasn’t until I shared all the extra info that he realized I was older than the average college student.
The same thing happened at the next check stand. The young, attractive sales clerk gave me a smirk as he joked about the laundry. I was embarrassed.
When I left Fred Meyer, I started to think about the meaning behind this embarrassment. I’ve lived across the world where I was forced to do my laundry by hand (not well, in case you were wondering), but for some reason this year, I am bothered by the fact that I don’t have a real washer and dryer. Somehow, it’s like – after years of pretending that I wasn’t getting older – I have now embraced my age only I don’t have the things I want in life! And the things I want are not more education, higher pay, or even a family. The missing piece of my happiness is so simple: regular use of a washer and dryer that don’t require me to use quarters to function.
Since it’s still near the beginning of the year, I think I know what a resolution will be for my life this year: I’ve got to move into a place where I can feel like my age and do laundry in my own place, sans quarters.
Tata for now.
P.S. I feel like I should mention that every time my dad comes to visit me, he brings me a tube of quarters to help me with the laundry… love that dude.