Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I think my Chinese laundry guy loves me...or something.

Let me start off by saying I am not a "Woman In Full" of herself. Granted, I get my fair (or unfair, depending on how you look at it) share of harassment, but I do not think a plethora of men are out there clamoring to "get with this". BUT...I'm pretty sure the Chinese guy who picks up and drops off my laundry to my apartment is "catching feelings". It all started last year when I noticed certain garments (i.e. panties) were not coming back with the rest of the clothes that I had sent out to get cleaned.

At first I panicked...
"Why would someone take my panties? Did they even take them to begin with? What if they are just lost? Misplaced? Maybe the Chinese guy put them in the wrong bag..."
Then insecurity...
"Who am I to think that my panties are sniff/trophy worthy?"
(That's read that one correctly.)
Then I got mad...
because I only wear sets! I'm not neurotic about much, but in case I'm in an accident and have to go to the hospital or I'm semi-nude in front of a significant other I need my matching sets! (Note: "said" significant other currently does not exist so the best chance anyone is going to have of seeing me in my panties is to show up at "said" hospital.)
Now matching panty sets are expensive. I did the math. When I get a set they cost 40 bucks! I was missing 12 panties total...That's 240 dollars!!! All it takes for something to be considered major theft by law, is that if what has been stolen, is valued at 200 dollars or more...and what I mean by law is the "law according to me." A crime had been committed! I had to stand my ground.

After calling several friends who advised me not to call the police, because my idea of filing a "Missing Panty Report" would not be taken seriously by the NYPD, I decided to put on a mismatched underwear set and try to find their missing brothers and sisters who may be lost at the cleaners. I walked in and let the cleaners have it. My Chinese guy was speechless. I tried to kindly explain to him, as simply as possible that I'm not accusing anyone of anything, but I'm missing panties and I find it odd that these are the only things that are missing. He stared at me for a few seconds until an older gentleman behind the counter(who kind of looked like the old Chinese man who sold Gremlins out of his Chinatown store basement) spoke up and asked, "How do you know they were here in the first place?" I thought this was a "young grasshopper" moment that you see in old kung-fu films where I was about to be tricked, so I remained calm and I explained to him that I only wear matching sets, therefore, only matching sets are sent to the cleaners and that when I only get half of the sets returned to me, I become greatly alarmed. My Chinese guy looked confused, so old man explained to him in Chinese what was going on. My Chinese guy then hit himself in the head with his hand. Old man apologized and said they would look for my panties. I left the cleaners and hurried home, afraid that any one passing me on the street would know that underneath all my glamour I was a disheveled, mismatched mess.

A week later, I got some panties back. Seriously. My Chinese guy brought them to my apartment himself. They were folded, cleaned, and wrapped in plastic in a brown paper bag. He kept apologizing and bowing. I didn't know what to do. I couldn't wear them. Where had my panties been? Did someone who washes clothes there take them home and then feel guilty? Were they sent home with a different customer who returned them? Were they trapped between the washer and dryer and then rescued by my Chinese guy? I'll never know, but I do know that those panties will never touch my body again.

After that ordeal, my relationship with my Chinese guy has changed. Now, when I call the cleaners he says my first and last name after he says hello. That guy doesn't speak a lick of English but he can say my name. He recognizes my voice and they don't have caller ID. I know because I stopped by and asked. He came to pick up my clothes yesterday and brought a sunflower. Maybe he treats me well because I stayed as a customer. I have no clue. But I'll always wonder two things about that Chinese guy-

1) At the moment the old man told him what had happened to my clothes and he hit himself in the head with his hand...Did he do that because he was embarrassed or because he was busted?


2) Does he get health benefits? I could get with a guy who has a good health plan. Nothing is sexier than those five little words, "Blue Cross and Blue Shield".


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