a cold crisp January day of
mild boredom but it was cool
an essay by liana ernszt
art by Marie Bodin
inspired by the feet behind the sheet by Eva Abeling
i rolled up all my socks and underwear which have been sitting in my laundry bag which is more like a laundry rucksack than a real laundry bag. i always think laundry bags should be pretty and something that’s pastel coloured in your neat room and not actually look like something that would hold all your old socks but mine is ugly and isn’t pastel or in a neat room.
i rolled all my stuff up in my sheets - which is just an unfitted sheet i tie with two elastic bands on the end to make it fit almost like a fitted sheet - all my stuff is just my duvet cover and then a pink and white pillow case, for the world’s flattest and shittiest pillow, a few t-shirts and a green knit turtleneck sweater that makes me look like a boxy amateur rugby player. but it’s got sentimental value and i like it a lot, plus when i'm watching something on my computer with someone lying down i can hide my double chin really nicely and it just looks cute and cozy and not double chin-y.
i go downstairs with my sweater, my phone and my headphones. i have the talking heads playing, it’s just one song, the third starred song on their complete album thing from iTunes, it’s good, it’s not “burning down the house”, “psycho killer” or “once in a life time” it’s the other big hit.
the air is crisp in a “i’m not 100% cold but i’m chilled, like a light bottle of white wine” kind of way and everyone else is wearing a coat but i’m in my sweater because i just flew into paris from home that day, and i found my roommate’s ex-boyfriend naked in her room and i heard that he slept over the day before but not in her bed and i was annoyed and very sure that he had slept in my bed. i didn’t want to wake him up at all, i hadn't spoken french in 2 weeks so i was 10/10 sure that my accent and the words were gonna take way longer to come out in order to look hip and cool, so i quietly gathered all my things in the 2 pm crisp fresh lighting of January and headed down to the laundromat a few doors down from our apartment
i got my underwear and shirts and the green turtleneck in one machine, but had to wait around for another vacant one, so with all my useless imposter bedding curled up beside me i got my phone out and watched this new show on Netflix. i had to close the door of the laundromat at one point because i was finally cold enough to be uncomfortable and curled back up into a ball on the bench.
a man came in and looked confused while trying to work the machines. i have to be honest : this is the first time that i was using the laundromat since being in the new apartment, which is embarrassing. yeah, i’d been there for a couple months, but i always just washed my underwear in the sink because i’m always cold and seriously lazy, but i had figured out how to use the washing machine after watching a dude use it to clean a bunch of soccer jerseys when i first walked in, and i figured out how to use the dryer while watching this hilarious woman with a very tired looking Weiner dog put her stuff in the dryer, then start the wrong dryer and panic quite dramatically. i pet her Weiner dog, then she left laughing and said “bonne courage” which is my favourite way of saying later in french. so this man asks for my help and i pause my tv show.
i just want to emphasize the importance of the mood of the day : i had just landed that morning my big black luggage didn't take too long to roll out of the conveyor belt, uber wasn't outrageously expensive. the metro ticket out of the airport into the city is 17 dollars and uber pool was only 30 so i figured the extra 13 dollars would go towards my emotional and physical comfort. so i uber pooled. i had three bags with me: my big black luggage, my tote bag with my laptop and all my little bags filled with moisturizers, healing crystals, and empty journals and then my little evening purse that i’ve been using as my wallet, keys, passport, bag while traveling. i was feeling ultra calm and hip surrounded by all my bags. my uber driver was lovely and made the perfect amount of small talk but was also quiet while i snapchatted. we picked up another girl at another terminal who's from Chicago. she asked me where kids liked to go dancing here. she’s finishing up her masters in Montana i think. i finally got dropped off at my apartment, which is when i found the ex spread eagle butt naked, the apartment was relatively clean. the sky was the perfect blue with hardly any clouds, i don’t remember seeing clouds but it’s always rainy in paris so i can’t really make a statement that bold.
since i’d just come from toronto where there was a ridiculous cold that had made -20 the norm for the past two weeks, i felt like it was spring already, which excused the fact that i was out in a sweater and everyone else was in a jacket. it was a Saturday, and no one here goes out during the weekends unless it’s to the boulangerie or a cafe so i was completely unbothered and there were only a few people passing the laundromat window. the tv show is about two teenagers in northern England going on a Bonnie and Clyde road trip so it was the perfect amount of young and amusing but also chilled like white wine, alone, and calm. it was truly my ideal day.
it got immeasurably better when my laundry was done and i went back up to my apartment which is just a few doors down holding my bundle of very warm sheets and underwear and i stripped down to the underwear i was already wearing and put on a new very warm t-shirt and wrapped myself in my clean very warm sheets and let it heat me while continuing to watch the show. once the sheets returned to a normal temperature i kept watching the show - which has an ace soundtrack - and hung all my still damp clothes up around my room, because the dryer doesn't work perfectly. i found all the missing socks and folded all the paired socks and continued watching the show until it was dark outside then i didn't turn the lights on and kept watching the show and ate a butter tart i’d brought with me, until i finished the show and fell asleep.
i was kinda lonely once i woke up from my nap and the show had ended. but the day had been an almost ideal day and it was a really good sign that my first day back here was as good as it was.
plus a lady at the airport tried to take my big black luggage and claimed she thought it was hers, but it wasn’t like she had grabbed it from the conveyor belt, no no i was wheeling it to the departure doors and she stopped me and accused me of stealing it, which was really entertaining, so really i was having an excellent day despite being kinda lonely because i was back here again after being home for two weeks with all my friends and my big bed in my childhood room, and my parents who ordered Thai food my last night despite the fact that really no one else but me and my sisters like Thai food. but despite the solitary feeling in me, it was January and I was very very calm, and the sky had almost zero clouds.
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