World. So we went to Sleep World, and the sole employee, a very bored woman, said that that nope, they didn’t have any twin sized box springs in stock, but that Goodwill might. And at the Goodwill, one of many employees, a very bored fellow, said that nope, they didn’t have any twin box springs in stock. He added “and good luck in your attempts to find one.” Under my breath I said to him “and a pox on your soul.”
So off we went, down 82nd Avenue, which has to be one of the world’s longest strip malls. It just goes on and on, as it has ever since I can remember. We finally pulled into this mall where they had three stores selling mattresses. Imagine it – there were no such mattress places for miles around – then there were three in one location. Makes a person want to believe in random order.
We first went to a place called Aaron’s. A woman, who was heavily tattooed and wearing a ton of makeup, said that yes, she had twin box springs, and then lead us through a maze of beds to a back room. She first tried to sell us a used box spring, to which Eleanor said “uh uh.” She then tried to sell us a new one. El, who for reasons unbeknownst to me, was wavering, and asked the woman if she had any rope to which we could tie the mattress in place. “Nope. Check the dollar store, over there,” she said, pointing.
So off we went, again, across the parking lot. But at about the ¾ mark, El veered left, and with me following, made for American Mattresses. When I hesitated, she said that she had been in this place previously, and liked it better. I noticed as we entered the store, that there was a sign that read “American Mattresses is Employee Owned.”
This place was bigger and had a wider selection of mattresses than did the other places. El talked with the sales guy and I flopped down on a Sealy. (The moving had tired me out.) The two employees, a man of 35 or so, and a woman, about the same age, were friendly enough. He made it clear, as we went to check out box springs, that he was a new employee. This was why, after, it took some time for him to punch in the right code and assist us with our purchase.
The woman seemed to know more about what was going on, which was why El asked her if she had any string on hand. She said no, that we could maybe find some at the dollar store, adding that if they didn’t have it, that they might have bungee cords. El, I supposed, would have walked out, but by then the transaction was complete. However, the woman did come up with some thick white stuff that she called twine and I called inferior packing tape.
The two employees carried the mattress out of the store, but said that for insurance reasons we had to tie it on the car, which was what we did. However, it slid around on the roof like a pancake, even when secured. By this point in time, El had no sugar in her blood. So as not to get her even more irate, I remained quiet when she remarked “I am too old for this shit. I would have enjoyed doing something like this when I was twenty.”
We pulled back out onto 82nd Avenue, and there realized that we would not make it back to the Basilica with the box spring. So we pulled into yet another mall area – and made our way to the Sports Center. Here, we purchased parachute cord, and tied the mattress on further. Now it moved about like a piece of French toast.
Again in traffic, I held onto my side like a drunk would hold onto his beer, for I knew that if I let go, the mattress was going to slide off the side of the car, into the road.
And I remained quiet. It all reminded me about our being kids and in one of our many city moves, moving our mattresses across a busy roadway. El was then 9, I was 12. It was in March. It was cold and slushy out. This venture had elements of that venture in it. I really felt as though we’d finally come full circle. As youths, and now as adults, we were mattress schleppers. And nothing, it seemed, had happened in between those two days. I mean, this was what we were destined to do. Time waits for no one, not even young or old mattress schleppers.
We got back to the Basilica, dragged that box spring into the elevator, down the hall, into mother’s apartment, and plopped it down on the mattress. I wanted to go celebrate, but El just wanted to get home. In her mind, it had been a very long day.
Next: 123. 5/3/13: Gray Baby and the Big Move