Yesterday was a sad day for Sasha Penn, a 24-year-old living in Chicago. For the first time since moving out of her house when she was an 18-year-old freshman in college, she had to buy a new bottle of laundry detergent.
“I was beside myself when I realized the bottle was low,” Penn says. “I realized that I had never had to buy myself detergent before.”
Though Penn had been living on her own for so many years, she had continuously been able to use other people’s laundry equipment, including taking home huge bags of dirty clothes to her parents. And for years, her single bottle of Tide seemed to be enough for the rare occasions when there was too much laundry to ignore and she was forced to do it on her own.
In Chicago, however, she got rid of her car and now uses the bus systems to visit her parents in St. Louis. Though there were minor setbacks at first, Penn quickly got used to only bringing a small amount home so she could pack up her suitcase with goodies for the ride back.
It wasn’t until yesterday, when the last drop of detergent slowly dripped out of her loyal Tide bottle, that she realized the true repercussions of living on her own without a car in the big city.
“It was the first time I really felt like a grown up,” she recalls. With a small tear in her eye, she continued to explain, “I didn’t even know which aisle would have the laundry detergent. It was awful.”
After a week or so of complete denial, Penn finally faced reality and headed to the store to buy herself a new bottle. Since she was on a strict budget, she didn’t replace her loyal Tide bottle, but went with the absolute cheapest brand she could find.
“I guess this is just a new phase of my life,” Penn reminisced.
On a positive note, she thankfully continues to have plenty of fabric softeners.