Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Work/Play: A Tale of Two Tanks

Saturday February 21. All I wanted was a t-shirt that said Poppy and a t-shirt that said Queen. Not that I knew I wanted that until I found the two t-shirt kits at Joann. I had to get them. I knew they weren't going to be amazing t-shirts. I'm a little bit snobby about t-shirt iron-ons, which isn't something you'd think you could be snobby about. Like I'm too wimpy to silkscreen. I'm a mean t-shirt designer in the iron-on medium, though. Kits are kind of no good; but look here, kits that said Poppy and Queen. It was like the difference between having a record that you could play whenever you wanted, and hearing your song on the radio. It was all about a t-shirt that says Poppy and a t-shirt that says Queen, and that's all I wanted. That's what I'm saying.

A day or two later, I pick up a three-pack of white t-shirts from Kmart.

Monday March 30. What, it's been a busy month. I read out loud, "Let stand 4-6 hours." I've just finished tie-dying the three shirts. In the process, I've managed to dye my left hand mostly blue. "Machine wash in large load with a small amount of soap. I guess I should have read these instructions before I started." It's 10:00 PM. "Do you think it'll hurt if I don't get to the laundromat until Saturday?" Boyfriend offers to go to laundromat tomorrow.

6:30 AM, Wednesday April 1. "I just decided." I pretty much start talking the second I wake up. What have you decided, boyfriend asks. He is actually still asleep. How does he do that. "I'm not going to use the shirts that I tie-dyed." Why not, he asks. "Because they're ugly. But thank you for washing them for me."

10:00 AM, Thursday April 2. I find myself walking to Old Navy on the way to the bank. Old Navy is not on the way to the bank. I find small and medium black racerback tanks on clearance that are perfect, and x-small and x-large white racerback tanks. Oh I forgot to tell you, the kits came with two iron-ons per shirt & I think one iron-on per shirt will look better. Munt, you can't save the extra iron-ons for later NO SHUT UP MUST HAVE SMALL AND MEDIUM WHITE RACERBACK TANKS

I call the Old Navy at North and Bumble Fish & they have them, I put them on hold. It'll only take an hour to get there on the bus. I have speed practice that night; but the salesgirl says that the next morning I can put them on hold again, and pick them up the next night.

10:00 AM, Friday April 3. I call and the small tank has been sold. The universe does not want you to have white racerback tanks. Give in to the universe.

7:30 PM. We are driving to the Old Navy by Harlem-Irving Plaza, which has the small tank, and then to the Old Navy on North and Kingsbury, which has the medium tank.

7:00 PM, Monday April 6. I start to iron. I iron the iron-on that says Queen on the white tank & it looks great. It'll probably wash off the first time it's washed, but it just needs to make a good first impression. I iron the poppies on the small white tank, and they also look great.

I iron the crowns on the medium black tank and the iron-on that says Poppy on the small black tank, and it doesn't look like ...anything. It looks, actually, like dried glue. I should have known, this isn't an iron-on for dark fabrics. This is where most people would say, it's the thought that counts and think of this as a perfectly good black tank that faintly says Poppy.

This is the point where I try to peel the iron-ons off the black tanks. I'm not under the illusion that it's going to peel off in one whole piece. I'm not exactly imagining, though, that they will come off four millimeters at a time, and that I will be hunched on the floor for the next two hours picking off four-millimeter bits of iron-on.

Maybe Goo-Gone will melt the iron-on. Goo-Gone melts everything. Not iron-ons.

I spy the acetone at the back of my dangerous household chemicals shelf. Acetone melts iron-ons, damn you. And if I had sat patiently with a razor blade carefully scraping off the melted iron-on, I might have a black tank to wear this very afternoon. Instead of scrabbling at the melted iron-on with my nails, and then trying to wash it off with laundry detergent. Which sort of sets the melted iron-on. Acetone also removes dye from fabric.

9:30 PM. I get my period.

"These are the four crazy things I can do," I announce to boyfriend, who has been driven early to bed by the acetone fumes. "In order, roughly. One, throw out all the tanks to wipe this whole project out of existence. Even though the two white tanks turned out okay. Two, throw out the black tanks and go back to Joann and get another Poppy t-shirt kit and cut out the part that says Poppy and iron it on the white tank."

"That is not unreasonable."

I fall on the bed. "You know what's going to happen if I do that? I'm going to cut out the part that says Poppy and iron it on the shirt with perfectly good poppies--"

"And put a big scorch mark on them."



"Throw out the black tanks, and leave well enough alone with the white tanks. Because as if I need a black tank, like everything I wear for skating isn't black."

I lie quietly on the bed.


"Oh, I forget. It was too crazy."

So B, this is how you ended up getting a medium white racerback tank that says Queen and I ended up with a small white racerback tank with poppies.