Remember that post in which I mentioned that our washing machine was broken and I was hauling laundry to the clinic where I work? Yes, lo those many days ago?
It’s still broken.
That’s right. No washing machine while hosting Thanksgiving – with guests in the house. And with only one set of sheets for our new bed, that’s really saying something.
We hope that on Tuesday, when a repair person is scheduled to show up (what a concept!), this will be over.
However, we have learned something in these two weeks: our neighbors are amazing. Some we knew were amazing because they are our friends first and foremost, they just happen to be our neighbors as well (lucky us!). And they have been fantastic. But others we didn’t know too well at all, at least not until we started trudging though their homes with our laundry baskets and detergent. Two couples in our condo building have been as generous as our actual friends…one couple stopped by with their key on their way out to a party: “Go ahead in and out as you please – watch cable TV while you wait for your laundry if you want – we’ll be home late tonight!” The neighbors across the hall have come and knocked on our door multiple times, “Don’t you need to do some laundry today? Come over anytime!” and even left their door unlocked when they went out so that we could get in and pick it up. Wow.
My cousin was here from San Francisco. After a couple days of these goings-on, she finally exclaimed with a dropped jaw, “Do you have any idea how incredible this is? I mean, it’s actually WEIRD, you guys! People just stop by and offer to help you. They come in for a while with their kids, like, ‘I’m just going to stop by and be really, really cool and nice for 10 minutes, hope you don’t mind!’. Then they drink some tea and hang out, and leave!” She felt like she was on another planet.
Pretending to be put out by this atypical behavior on the part of city-dwelling human beings, she was essentially echoing what I’ve been trying to say since we arrived in Chicago. I have lived in big cities and small towns on the East Coast, the West Coast, and in the Midwest, but I’ve never seen anything like the people in Chicago.