"Hey, you going in there?" a woman asked me, as I reached to open the door to my laundromat.
My morning coffee run had taken longer than expected, and I was now a few minutes late to grab my clothes out of the washer. I hoped no one had moved them out already. I hate when strangers touch my underwear.
I paused and answered, "Um, yeah?"
The woman stood on the sidewalk, laboring under a big stack of shrink-wrapped laundry. I wondered if she worked for another laundromat (the one across the street?) and perhaps she was she trying to poach me away from this establishment and to her own.
"Do you mind walking one more door down?" she asked me.
Ah-ha. I understood that she was asking me to walk down to her building and open her front door for her, as her hands were full. I agreed, because it's the holidays and all. Also, I am generally bad at saying "no."
We walked down the sidewalk (turns out 1 door down = 5 buildings down) and she exclaimed, "Wow, thank you so much, you're my angel! You know what the lady at the laundromat said to me when I asked her for help? She cursed me! And said 'Why should I hold the door for you?'"
I made an appropriate expression of sympathy. We turned into her building and I opened the outer door for the lady.
"Here," she said, struggling with something in her hand, "Take my keys. I trust you."
There were three keys on a Koosh ball holder; I wasn't sure which one opened the next door.
"It's the undulating key. There are two types of keys: undulating and sharp. You need the undulating key."
"Ok, so...this one?" I guessed.
"No, the middle key." (Why didn't she say 'middle' to begin with, and save me the undulating confusion??)
As I moved to unlock the door for her, she chattered on, "You're just like my friend in Wyoming. I'm reading Leaving Cheyenne for my book club. You should read it. Leaving Cheyenne."
"Yes, Leaving Cheyenne, you should read it. Leaving Cheyenne..." were the last words she said to me, as she took her keys back and disappeared down the front hall, still tottering a bit under the weight of her pile of laundry.
I considered calling out "Happy Holidays!" because that seemed like a more fitting closure than "Leaving Cheyenne," but I just left it.
Went back to the sidewalk, shaking my head.
Walked 5 buildings down to my laundromat and collected my laundry. Sighed in relief upon discovering that no strangers had touched my underwear.
In the words of Jack Johnson, "This city's nitty-gritty, but it's so much fun."