Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lessons of the Laundromat

My washer broke yesterday, right in the middle of doing the mountain of laundry left over from the lake.  It wasn't pretty, but thank goodness there's a laundromat nearby. To be honest, it's been a while since I've been to the laundromat, and I learned a few (more) things this morning:

1.  Laundromats, for the most part, smell good.  Like clean clothes, but not when the little man next to you has 6ft halitosis.  Yes, that's an actual medical term '6ft halitosis'--as in you can smell his bad breath from six feet away.

2.  Cherchez les nudistes!  Yes, that says what you think it says.  Nudists are everywhere at the laundromat.  You'd think they wouldn't be, with law prohibiting nudity in public places, but I know that the college student in the back of the laundromat was sitting naked behind his paper.  Remind me not to sit on that seat next time I go there.

3.  Don't look at other people's laundry, it's creepy.  If there's one common international rule at a laundromat, or any place where people gather to wash clothes, it's: don't look at other people's laundry.  6 ft halitosis man was enchanted with mine and spent the entire drying cycle watching the underwear tumble around and around.  Dude, that's creepy.

4.  Laundromat bathrooms are a throw back to elementary school.  Of course, I'd drank an appropriate amount of Diet Coke this morning to start the day off right.  Inevitably, this led to a bathroom break.  In comes the elementary school part:  Remember that toilet paper that came in individual folded sheets?  You know, the little ones that look like paper towel, but are smaller, just like the ones from school.  Anyway, care to take a guess how many it takes to cover a toilet seat?  Like a million...and that's only if you don't  breathe on one and make the 4cm x 4cm sheet blow off accidentally.

5.  I'm more OCD than I realized.  While the laundromat may smell good (if you can flee from halitosis man) there is something vaguely disturbing about washing my clothes where someone else has washed theirs.  It's like using someone else's hairbrush, or hand towel.  I can't let myself think too long about how gross it is to create a soapy petri dish, then toss my own clothes in...of course, I don't think it bothers me too much, last week I licked my daughter's eye, just because she dared me to.  Apparently germs don't really bother me that much.

6. Television news hasn't improved.  There was a huge screen t.v. on the wall this morning at the mat.  Mountain Man begged me to stop watching the evening news because I'm not much of a sleeper and this just seemed to exacerbate the problem.  It's been a long time since I've watched CNN, or whatever's out there, and it hasn't improved much.
First, there's that news music that goes, "DUM DUM DUM!" This signals that the next words out of the anchors mouth is impending doom.  After the appropriate amount of 'fact sharing', there is a shot of the live witness, specialist, screaming person running for their life, or angry teenager with a pitchfork in hand, driving home how perilous the situation is.  This bit is followed up by more scary music of which all subtext is that this will soon happen in the city/town/lonely goatherd where you live.  Cue Xanax.

Even though I was accosted by OCD, school memories, halitosis man, news man, and naked man, it was a productive morning.  I got all my laundry done in under 2 hours, folded and in the car ready to be put away.  Who knows, maybe I'll skip fixing my washer and come back soon.

It seems like there's a lot to learn at the laundromat.


  1. Oh the joys of having your own washer and dryer! You brought it all back, I used to hate my trips to the laundromat. I'd try to go early in the morning so I could beat the crowds, but then the attendant was TOO attentive so I had to adjust my schedule to a more populated time. I could've found a different laundromat, I suppose ;) but this one was right down the street. Counting my blessings again, I have a washer and dryer in the basement and, right now, they both work!

  2. Ahhh, the laundromat and their attendant 'facilities.' In my experience, most laundromats don't even offer facilities – lucky they had one at all. That being said, in most of my frequented laundromats, it was, and still is, an allowable and accepted practice to leave your laundry while it does its thing – it's good to watch the time though, 'cause if you aren't back and somebody needs the machine, it's just dumped (with differing degrees of ceremony) on the counter, chair, rickety cart – you know the ones – or, once or twice, the floor (but that's a different story!) Not always as bad as it sounds (but that's a different story, too!)

    Now, as a 'connaisseur' of public restroom facilities, I can usually find an establishment close by to a laundromat that actually has public facilities, or that I can talk my way into (the nearby hairdresser's salon is usually a good bet if there isn't a hotel lobby restroom within walking distance.)

    You just happen to be extremely fortunate in your choices, because the grocery store across the parking lot from your laundromat has an excellently maintained public restroom right near the office supplies! Grocery stores can be the worst of public restrooms (for both patrons and workers – I used to have to cross the street to the local camera shop when I was working produce way back when.)

    That being said – live on the wild side: leave your laundry for the creepy dude to watch, escape the halitosis and exhibitionism, and enjoy the clean throne across the parking lot next time!