Dirty Laundry

This morning I went to Target to buy a hamper.

That is not entirely correct.  This morning I went to Target, a place I dislike avowedly, to return Christmas lights.  It was then that I realized I could pick up a hamper and, really, start this new year on a symbolic note:  No dirty laundry strewn all over the floor.

Standing in the hamper aisle (I have no idea if the whole aisle, really, was dedicated to hampers, but that’s what I’m calling it), I first had to distinguish between hampers and trash bins.  Because really, they all seemed like white plastic, cheaply made.  I found a hamper that seemed like it would work, though it had wheels, which I didn’t need.  Hell, I have real things to do, I thought—I settled on this piece of white plastic, upright enough to stand in my closet, priced around $15.00, and took it down from its perch.

Too fancy-schmancy.

And then I began to wonder:  Is this the right hamper?  I looked around: There were other pieces of plastic, in different colors, different sizes.  How was I supposed to know this was indeed to be my hamper?  Hadn’t my mother said something about a hamper needing vents, or spaces in the plastic?  Should hampers have a lid or not?

I called my mother.  I’m 32, and I had to call my mother for advice on buying a hamper. This was not a good sign.  Yes, apparently hampers should have lids.  Who knew?  I didn’t.  I didn’t know this.  How does one know this?  Do they teach this?  I began to panic.  One day I would be some poor girl’s husband, some poor child’s father, and I didn’t know hampers were supposed to have lids!   What else didn’t I know?!

I thought about the word ‘hamper’.  It means to hinder or impede the movement of progress.  Well, yes, that seemed apt now, but how on Earth was it then shifted to its current laundry connotation?  And why in the heck was I standing in a Target aisle on a Monday morning pondering the meaning of the word ‘hamper’?

Not socially acceptable for 32.

By now I was hyperventilating.  I lay down in the middle of the aisle at Target.  I began to breath slowly and chant softly.  Sure, I could give you a good lecture on the full canon of Anton Chekhov or the failings of the New York Mets, but those things didn’t help much in the real world, do they?  I got up and dragged my hamper, complete with lid and vents, towards the checkout line.  On the way, I noticed a whole other section dedicated to hampers.  A second hamper aisle?  This seemed excessive.  Wait, what was that:  A simpler, easier, better piece of white plastic hamper with no wheels, vents and a nice lid?  I abandoned my hamper in a fit of ecstasy!  This hamper was calling my name!

Don't these bastards know it's supposed to have a lid?!

At the checkout I had a pleasant conversation with the clerk, a lady who thanked me for wishing her a ‘Happy New Year’ and laughed at my little jokes about resolutions and dirty laundry.  This I could do, this I could handle:  I have always been able to make checkout clerks laugh.  I suppose that’s a skill of some sort.  But it doesn’t cover up your dirty laundry.


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