Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Cr@zy Laundromats

Who’d’ve ever thought the day would come when I would be excited to do laundry?

That day was today. When we got a washing machine. You never know how much you miss it till it’s gone, right? Since we moved into our new house we haven’t had a washer or dryer. They were not furnished, and we did not have any of our own; the last place we lived was a rental, and we had to leave those ones there. We finally bought a dryer, but decided that it had no entertainment value, and we’d better get a washing machine so nothing looked suspicious. Going to the laundromat for the last two months has been a real pain in the butt, especially when there were weeks on end of sub-freezing and near-zero temperatures. I can’t complain too much, since we live less than 1/4 mile from the laundromat, but even thinking about leaving the house was a chore when it was that cold, much less hauling laundry baskets and detergent out with you and fumbling to get them into the car.

Then there’s the idea of actually BEING at the laundromat. Sure, you can take a magazine, or even a friend, but you’ll never be able to keep your eyes off those tumbling clothes. It’s like being hypnotized into boredom for at least an hour. I watched six dryers going all at once, full of my familiar vetements, round and round and round and round. Sometimes I counted how many times I saw the same blue striped sock go around before it disappeared into the swirling pile. The rhythm of zippers and buttons clanging against the metal drums is almost soothing, but still on the brink of annoying. Like a little impatient voice chattering, “How much longer is this going to take?” If you’re really clever, you might even be able to write a song with a tune that goes to the beat of the clanging. Forget iPod, I’ve got iLaundry. And then, without any warning, the dryers just stop, one by one. An overwhelming sense of relief knocks me back into the real world, and I head over to gather up my belongings and get the F— out of dodge… when disappointment strikes. These clothes are still damp!

Another $5.00 in quarters and 45 minutes later…. I’m at home, hauling it all back inside and dropping it all over the wet, snowy ground on the way in because of the way I crudely shoved it into laundry baskets in a hasty attempt to flee from the laundromat of doom. Then there’s putting it all away…

And aren’t there always some of the creepiest people at the laundromat? Sure, they look normal, but do they talk to you? NO. No way. There’s an unspoken rule about talking to people at the laundromat (unless you’re drunk or in a movie). And if YOU try to talk to SOMEONE ELSE that’s at the laundromat, they look at you like you have entrails coming out of your ears, and then they watch you until they finish their laundry business and leave. THAT’S CREEPY. I don’t like people watching me – that’s why I don’t try talking to people at the laundromat.

I’m just glad to hear that familiar clanging sound coming from my basement. I have run both machines all day long, and joyfully got up to change the load each time. I will never again take for granted my laundry, for I know what it is like in this life to be without.