Wednesday, April 21, 2010

One Day I too Shall Have a Washer and Dryer

I've spent more years than I care to count living in apartment buildings, and so I've always had to share a laundry room with dozens or hundreds of other people. I dream of the day when I'll be rich enough to have a washer and dryer that I don't have to share with anyone else, so that I can leave my clothes in the machines for as long as I want without worrying about clearing them out for other people who need to do laundry. When I can do laundry without needing a handful of quarters, I'll believe that I've truly made it. That's my American Dream :).
But right now my reality is that as someone moving sluggishly through the nine circles of the Inferno(otherwise known as graduate school), I can barely afford that handful of quarters I need to do laundry every week.
One summer in college I lived with three girls who only did laundry about once a month; they just kept buying new clothes when the ones they already owned got dirty. But except for the year that I worked for a clothing store and had a generous employee discount, I typically only buy new clothes when my old ones get holes in them or noticeable stains that are impossible to remove.
I'm glad I don't have to go to a laundromat, because then you're stuck there for two hours and it's more expensive to wash clothes there anyway. Not to mention the one time I did go there was a guy I think of as the Quarter Nazi who wouldn't even let me use the change machine; he insisted on doling out the quarters to me because he was convinced I would take out more quarters than I needed. Jerk.
Anyway, I always have to figure out when to do laundry so that I can get all my clothes done at the same time. I tried doing laundry on Saturday nights, because I figured everyone else would be going out and the machines were more likely to be available. But the laundry room is right by the front door, so I felt like everyone going to and from the bars were exchanging knowing glances at each other when they saw me doing laundry on a Saturday night.
But weekday evenings aren't good either because that's when everyone else is off work, watching TV, and doing laundry during commercial breaks. Then they often forget about their laundry and leave it in the machines for hours because they're so absorbed in the latest episode of Gossip Girl or whatever the hell they're doing that makes them forget about other people in the building who need to clean their clothes. Then I think about just removing their clothes from the washer when the cycle is done, and putting them in the dryer so that I can use the washing machine. But then I always worry that the inconsiderate loser who left clothes in the washer for three hours might come down right at the second I'm pulling their underwear out of the machine, and think I'm stealing their clothes or trying them on or something. It's even worse when my neighbors leave their clothes in the dryers for hours, because then I don't know where to put their clothes after the cycle is done. The laundry room is really small and there isn't a table or anything, and I don't want to put them on the washers because then whoever else needs to use them will have to figure out where to put the clothes. Does anyone else think about this? What would you do in a situation like this? Wait for an indefinite period of time for the people to come down and take their clothes out, then be all passive-aggressive and sigh and look at your watch a lot to let them know that you've been waiting a long time? Tell them to take their clothes out on time? Throw the clothes out on the lawn in front of the building? I don't know. One time I was so irritated from running up and down the stairs because it took me more than three hours to do three separate loads (because of the neighbor issues I described above) that I actually wrote an angry note and taped it to the dryer where someone had left his or her clothes for three hours.
And then I stopped and reread my note. I couldn't believe how angry I sounded, and thought about how the neighbor, someone I'd never even met, would feel when he or she read it. I was stressed out because doing all this laundry was taking time away from my school work, and I transferred a lot of my frustrations onto that note. I took the note back and threw it away. Partly because I didn't want to be a bitch. And also because I thought whoever received the note might somehow find out I wrote it and then throw my clothes out on the lawn.


  1. I like your idea of throwing the clothes out on the lawn in front of the building! Now that'll teach 'em! Of course I'm sure you wouldn't do that, nor would I, but it's a very funny image.

    You did the right thing by tearing up the note. I've been in similar situations and realize that people do get distracted by things as they probably like doing laundry as much as the rest of us.

  2. Thanks Lisa! No, I wouldn't actually throw anyone's clothes outside (though I have been tempted to do so).

    By the way, I'm not sure why my comment listing still shows "0 Comments" even after I published your comment; I'll have to figure that out later. I'm still new to blogging :).