Whatever the opposite of a bucket list is, that is what I have — and I say, “have” like it’s an affliction. It’s as if a doctor has diagnosed me with OBL (Opposite Bucket List) and the prognosis was abysmal. I admire people who aspire to do things and go places and learn when they don’t have to.
I, on the other hand, have a long list of things I never want to do, places I hope to never visit and simple everyday tasks that most women in their 40s have been doing for years that I have proudly avoided. Namely, I don’t know how to drive, and I have never learned to do my own laundry.
That second one may sound entitled and gratuitous, but at my house growing up, everyone had chores. Doing the laundry was considered an enviable task that I never got to do. Laundry was coveted since the other options were cleaning toilets and picking up dog poop from the backyard, which was my main function in the Lawrence household.
In college, we had a laundry service because there were no machines on campus. That situation was fine with me, but it also explains why I never really got the whole white clothing turning pink jokes back then.
After graduation I worked three jobs, forcing me to use my spare time wisely. Do I have a social life or wait all night for laundry? I chose boys and booze and dropped my clothes off at a place for the bargain basement price of 99 cents a pound.
Currently, and due to my track record, my boyfriend Joe, doesn’t trust me with his precious wool sweaters or his linen shirts, which he claims don’t even go in the washing machine. I was content with him doing the laundry, and he was content with me never doing it. This was all working out just fine until a job situation arose, potentially taking me to San Francisco for six weeks. My only concern was how this would necessitate my need for clean clothing. At first, I considered just packing 42 pairs of panties and not worrying about it, but Joe insisted on teaching me the ways of the wash.
He pointed to all the machines in our basement, handed me our laundry card and said, “Put in the clothes, put in the laundry detergent with them, put the card into the slot and follow the instructions.”
Then his phone rang and he was off.
So, I put in the clothes, put in the detergent, put in the card and followed the instructions. Unfortunately, I had chosen a dryer instead of a washing machine, which would explain why when the machine began to spin, no water came out. It also explains the brevity of my lesson. Luckily, I didn’t have to go to San Francisco, but even more fortunate, my relationship survived.
Content with the knowledge that I may never again use a Bounce dryer sheet or Tide PODS, I moved on to task number two: driving.
As the clock struck twelve on Dec. 31 last New Year’s Eve, my best friend, Jaimie, insisted we all yell out what one change we would make in 2015. As you can imagine, someone like me who doesn’t have a bucket list also doesn’t have any New Year’s resolutions.
So, Jaimie made one for me: “Cooper, this is the year you will learn to drive!”
Living in a large city with excellent transportation coupled with the lack of desire to go anywhere might explain why I never learned to drive. But I was a good sport and muttered, “sure” under my breath.
I made it all the way to July before Jaimie invited me out to her house in Southampton, Long Island, where nobody uses public transportation. She drove me to a rather desolate area where she stopped the car in the middle of the road, got out of the driver’s side, walked around to the passenger side and ordered me to “Drive!”
I drove around empty streets, slowly and carefully, where I felt safe since there was nothing there to crash into. Jaimie proudly declared that she was a “great teacher” and I would “surely have my license by the end of the summer.” However, by the end of the night she was too drunk to drive us home from a party in East Hampton and threw me the keys.
Now, if you were a police officer, wouldn’t you prefer a sober driver without a license to a drunk driver with one? The answer was no. No, you would not. The problem as far as I saw it was not my lack of driving skills so much as it was East Hampton township’s lack of street lights. In an effort to find our road in the pitch-black night in a town with wooden posts for street markers rather than reflective street signs, I was accused of “driving erratically.”
I promptly went back to the city where there are buses and subways and myriad cabs and car services — a place where someone else did my driving and someone else did my laundry.