This is the first urban apartment-building in which I’ve lived. It’s large — imposing, even — and is set on the corner of a major thoroughfare.
My apartment is at the far end of the sixth, and highest, floor. I emphasize this because, when I venture out to move my car, do laundry or get my mail, my journey is longer than anybody else’s. Which makes me the tenant most likely to bump into, share the elevator with, or simply be seen by others.
Knowing this has not improved my grooming habits one bit. In fact, each day I’m struck anew by the depth of my apathy.
On many a morning, 8:59 finds me scurrying up the block or around the corner to my car garbed in any or all of the following, in myriad combinations:
One of my old, beloved, disintegrating sweatshirts, most likely inside-out and/or backwards
Worn thermal or pajama bottoms with paint or bleach stains and a highly compromised crotch
My huge, fleece caftan
Leather gloves and/or scarf
Low, zip-up snow boots with no socks beneath them
Makeup is absent. My hair is smooshed flat in some places, boinging out in others. Occasionally, it’s still damp with perimenopausal sweat.
I can’t motivate myself to care.
Only once since moving in has there been an exception.
It was a sweltering, August afternoon. Preparing to do laundry, I put on an old halter-top with. . .well, insufficient support.
In my defense, I was in a hurry. Plus, I didn’t feel like dirtying something cuter. And I wasn’t flopping when I put it on.
Walking at a reasonable pace, all had been well.
Then, leaving the laundry room, I saw the elevator door open at the far end of the hall.
“Could you hold that a minute?” I yelled to the super and her nephew, and made a run for it.
Of course, I did the run. The one where I bend my knees and take long, smooth strides, staying perfectly still above the waist to avoid floppage. But as I gained momentum, I felt things going awry. It began with a jiggle. Then my boobs started springing upward toward my face, freezing for a split second before my eyes before landing back on my chest with an audible, “Whoomp.”
The super and her nephew stared, agog, their eyes moving up and down with the action. Judging by their expressions, they could have been watching me bull-ride naked.
I slowed gradually, folded my arms across my chest, and walked the last few yards.
“Thank you,” I said demurely, as if I was someone they could ever respect again.
“Sure,” they answered as I got onto the elevator.
The elevator door closed. As I began my ascent, I heard the nephew say, “What a sight that was!”
“Well, I wasn’t going to mention it!” the super responded.
They burst into peals of laughter.
Clearly, I need to improve on the run.