2 November 2009 “Grandma Julie”
A short while ago I dropped my clothes off at the old school laundromat rusting on the corner at 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue SE. For eighteen Yankee dollars, the good Americans manning the machines there will wash, dry, and fold my every stitch of clothing. I normally give them twenty and tell them to keep the change, but not today. Today’s laundry is abridged to the essential work shirts, boxers, and socks. Nine dollars. I give the attendant a ten dollar bill. “Grandma Julie” is written in cursive blue pen in the top margin the one dollar bill he gives me as change.
Rent is due on the 6th. Saiid wants it by tonight. I nodded last night when he told me, but barring a miracle evening waiting tables the Hawk ‘n’ Dove (which on occation do happen) Saiid will have to wait until the sixth of the month: the agreed upon monthly deadline for rent payments.
Three shifts — tonight, tomorrow night, and Wednesday night — to make or surpass $440. I’m currently sitting on $186 in my back pocket to add to another twenty-or-so dollars in quarters and loose one dollar bills in my backpack. But we’ll low-ball it at $186 for now to avoid the ever-present risks of projections rooted in financial mysteries. This means that my next three days working must produce at least $214 in cash by Thursday, as Saiid owes me $40, despite that he may think otherwise.
“It’ll be ready by five,” said the laundromat attendant; and so I walk to the Pennsylvania Avenue Dunkin’ Donuts on 8th Street for two strawberry-filled and a small coffee lunch.
In the Dunkin’ Donuts’ entryway hang photographs of Barack Obama buying donuts there, here, where I now sit in second floor Free Internet loft, having returned downstairs for another round of donut and coffee — black this time, which was how I asked for it the first time, only to discover some foul milky sugar aggregate during the first sentence or two of this post.
Nevertheless, on both visits to the counter, I paid tribute to the tip mug, as always: one dollar. Tip mugs are one of the many reasons that, despite working seven days a week this month, I now lack sufficient funds to cover rent this month.