As I look forward to my summer in London, I can’t help but think back to the tragic events of my last summer in New York City.

I had set up my room so that there was an oscillating fan in the window, right underneath the blinds.

When I did so, I glanced apprehensively at the blinds’ string dangling haphazardly unattached in the window, wondering what disasters might come if the string was inadvertently sucked into the fans blades.

Fortunately, I was spared such atrocities for the entire summer, that is, until the last week in Manhattan.

One night, when I was drawing the shades, the free-flying string stupidly attached itself to the fan blade and, before I knew it, my fan was dangling from my third-story screenless window and threatening suicide. “Oh, goddamn it,” I muttered, turning off the fan, and assessing the situation.

It quickly became apparent that there would be no way to salvage the cord. A complete amputation was in order. I prepared the scissors, held onto the base of the dangling fan and severed the blinds cord.

The fan made it through the ordeal just fine, trooper that it was. However, the blinds – well, that was a different story. The minute I cut through the line, half of the blinds slammed down on my head in protest, forever disabled by my overzealous surgeon tendencies.

“Oh, goddamn it,” I muttered and threw myself on the bed along with the mischievous fan.

This meant one and only one thing – I’d have to go buy new blinds, a fact I realized while I lay on the bed in the sweltering heat and immediately uttered, “Oh, goddamn it!” After much Richard Simmons-style motivation speeches – “Hey girlfriend, you can do this!” – I measured the window and dragged myself through the 90 degree smoggy city air, 20 minutes away to the blinds store, found the right pair and began my trek back.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to drag a pair of blinds in oppressive heat through countless city blocks back to your apartment, but if you haven’t, let me enlighten you on some important facts of life. Blinds don’t fit too well into bags, nor are they light enough to be simply slung under one’s arm.

Thus, the process of dragging blinds home is an extremely difficult and excruciating process, especially when you’re – get ready for this, boys, this part is especially attractive – sweating out of every pore in your body.

Nonetheless, I channeled my whining energy into schlepping this awful contraption home, threw the new set on the bed, detached the old one and held the new pair up to the window to which I immediately uttered “goddamn it” and collapsed again on the bed. Yes, oh yes, the blinds were too small for the window.

After several tears and a few suicide attempts, I gathered myself back up and shoved the new pair of blinds piece by piece back into the box, attempting none too successfully to keep the now ill-fitted box and blind set together with strategically placed pieces of duct tape.

I took a deep breath, gathered my sweat-dampened hair into a pony tail and schlepped the barely held together incredibly awkward set back to the store where, of course, they refused to take back the now-opened box.

“Fine,” I said. “Just, for the love of God, take these measurements and help me find a new set of blinds – I’ll pay again – just help me.” The clerk helped me find the supposed correct pair, put it in another ineffective plastic bag and off I went with two pairs of blinds clutched in my armpits.

As I straggled on home, my hair becoming more matted and my feet sporting new blisters with every step, I found a strength I never knew existed. I suddenly realized that yes, one day I would die, and yes, it might be painful, but I would be damned if I died like this – in a sweltering window-blind hell. “Dig deep, Leah,” I told myself. “Choose life.”

Thus, when my roommates saw me stumble into the apartment, two disheveled boxes of blinds in my arms, they may have seen a tired and defeated Leah, but as I stumbled down the hall to my room a look of determination spread across my face. I … would … do … this. I unpacked the blinds, the thrill of imminent victory welling up in my chest. I eagerly held the blinds up to the window, but – of course – the blinds were too big for the windowsill. The quiet apartment was filled with my scream, “Goddamn it!” I shoved all of the blinds – the broken one and the two illegitimate wenches – underneath my bed and immediately instant-messaged the friend who let me sublet the room. “Hey, what’s up? Your room needs new blinds. Peace.”

Kaminsky can be reached at

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