As we were in the height of summer, the most important machinery needed, after a hair dryer, was an air conditioning unit, the kind that shoots out of a window. I hail from the land of the HVAC, and central air remains imperative in most places I frequent. Sweating: only apropos during intercourse, sauna-ing or sun-bathing by a pool and/or beach. I'm convinced that's why the "third world" countries are third world...because they do not possess central air capabilities. I put on my best white-trash-wife-beater and daisy dukes and dialed Home Depot in Manhattan:
Me: "Hi, I need an AC unit for an apartment I’m leasing starting August 1st."Son of a mother-fucking bitch. I wanted to cry, and I could already discern the pellets of sweat spotting my self-tanner. I asked a few NYC colleagues what to do, and they directed me to a place called P.C. Richards. Once I determined it branded a store and not an unfortunately named man or gentleman caller in a freezer, I placed an order for a 10,000 BTU unit with a "regular" plug for $800, including shipping and installation. Mr. Richards is a costly bastard, but he had the goods.
Home Despot: "What size unit and what type of outlet?"
Home Despot: "We'll need those to ensure we give you the proper product."
Me: "Ummm. Sorry, I thought we were at a gay bar for a second. I'm guessing the window is about 24 inches wide, and it's just a simple plug in the wall. I didn't know plugs had types. How can we mitigate this situation based on my lack of knowledge?"
Home Despot: "We'll need that info..."
Me: "Can you go to my apartment and look? I'm already back in Atlanta arranging my move."
Home Despot: "I'm sorry we can't do that."
Me: "Fine. I’ll take my chances. If you look to the left of your desk you'll see an outlet, I'm sure. It'll look like that."
Home Despot: "Ooook. How many BTUs?"
Me: "Oh! Ha! I googled this. I need 10,000 BTUs, please."
Home Despot: "Okay, great. And is this in the window or in a slot beneath the window?"
Me: "Slot for $200, Alex."
Home Despot: "I'm sorry, sir, but it looks like we're all out."
My next task involved booking the movers. By movers, I mean my father and myself armed with a dolly and a U-Haul. The ordering process proved relatively simple; however, the actual execution of u-hauling my life to the North literally sucked ass. I managed to distract myself from moving and snag Britney Spears tickets in Atlanta the night prior to the exodus. This served as my first viewing of her post-meltdown, so my friends Amanda and Devan and I refused to miss the spectacle of the Circus tour. Britney personified everything you thought she'd be. She didn't sing; she white-knuckled a corset the entire time; and her dance moves satirized stretches before the Special Olympics. Needless to say, we paid for a fabulous time singing and dancing. The concert concluded before midnight, and I shot a 5-Hour Energy, picked up my father, straddled the U-Haul and headed to the highway.
U-Hauls lack a serious sense of humor along with the ability to accelerate over seventy miles per hour. I assembled a mental note to not send the U-Haul a Facebook friend request after our trip together. Somewhere between Obama's whereabouts and the Amish, I deigned to test the speed limit and weave in and out of traffic to expedite our journey. This maneuver resulted in the truck swaying onto two wheels and nearly toppling over in four lanes of traffic at sixty-eight mph. My father also decided to start having heart palpitations from the shock of our near-fatal oopsie. I careened the truck over to the shoulder and asked him if he could walk it off because I wanted to strut into New York before 5:00pm. "If you took better care of yourself, we wouldn't be waiting for your heat attack to subside."
We survived the sixteen-hour drive and arrived in the city at 5:30pm. On my previous trip, I measured the apartment and attacked the wood floors with blue painter's tape to mark off where my furniture would reside and ensure adequate space. I was beyond pleased with myself for calculating everything as I initiated the first of twenty-three trips up and down four flights of stairs. Daddy unloaded the truck only and opted out of climbing the stairs with items because "you know, my heart." Despite my yard-stick-ingenuity, I failed to measure the stairwell, and on the twenty-fourth trip, daddy and I discovered that my queen-sized box spring could not squeeze through the corridors. I tactfully became irate and hacked at the hallway ceiling with a lamp to buy us a few more inches of space. As the white plaster accumulated on the stairs, I halted my renovations and screamed. I left a message with the mayor's office saying that the city's blatant disregard for tall people that do not like to sweat is abhorrent, and I would like him to form a committee to regulate this problem ASAP.
I had to dispose of the bed, and Goodwill informed me they didn't want it. I told them I understood because homeless people are typically short. Leaving the bed frame, headboard, mattress and box spring on the front stoop of my building seemed tacky. Luckily, I noticed that the high rise next to my building housed a dumpster with various odds and ends strewn about. A stove, refrigerator and used tampons. Daddy and I lugged my bed over to the dumpster, and as I exhaled with relief, he said "there's a security camera right there. Could we get arrested for littering?"
"Fuck it," I said, walking by the U-Haul and properly trashing the three parking tickets stuck on the windshield.
By this time, my mom's plane arrived and we decided to get a midnight dinner at a French restaurant two blocks away. When the waiter asked for my father's order, I answered for him: "He’ll have a steak, medium, topped with Gorgonzola cheese and a side of double-fried fries with mayo."