January 18, 2010

365 Project: Day 87

Ugh. Laundry. Its one of those annoying little tasks in life that you just have to do. Its right up there with dishes and grocery shopping for me. I despise having to do it. I'll let my dirty clothes pile up as long as possible before I actually make the effort to wash anything. The day always comes when you get up and go to the closet to get dressed only to find that there's not one single thing that is suitable to wear. In my life, that day is also known as laundry day. Otherwise, I just can't force myself to do it. The washer and dryer on this rental property are in a little cinderblock shack behind the house. Its terribly inconvenient to have to drag my laundry outside and through the backyard, not to mention its freezing now that its winter. However, having a washer and dryer at all is a big plus for a renter. I shouldn't complain. As much as I hate doing laundry, I hate going to the laundry mat even more. Something grosses me out about washing my clothes in a machine that countless numbers of other people have used. The dryers never manage to get your clothes completely dry, always requiring one or more additional quarters to finish the job. I swear they're rigged.

People watching at the laundry mat is fascinating though. There's a certain crowd of people who you run into at the laundry mat. I've seen some pretty strange people hanging out washing their clothes. There's always that person who comes in carrying a year's worth of laundry and with no consideration for anyone else, uses almost every single washer in the place. Or the person who puts their clothes in the washing machine and then just leaves. Where do they think they're going? What do they expect is going to happen when the washer is finished and other people are waiting to use it? That's when you get into shady territory with boundary issues. There is that point when the person has been gone so long that you have to decide if its appropriate to take their laundry out of the washer so you can use it. I mean, there is a stranger's underwear in there. Do you really want to touch those? There's also that person who insists on talking on their cell phone the entire time they're washing their clothes. I was in a laundry mat once with a woman who was not only on her cell phone, but she was talking on speaker phone. What possesses a person to talk on their speaker phone in public is beyond me. Just today I drove past a laundry mat where there was a homeless man laying not only on the sidewalk, but across the sidewalk casually picking his nose. I'm usually the girl sitting as far away from everyone else as possible, headphones on, book in hand, trying not to make eye contact with anyone.

Most laundry mats are set up exactly the same. Washers and dryers, of course, rows of plastic chairs all linked together so you have to sit uncomfortably close to the person next to you, one or more televisions chained to the wall or on those hospital stands hanging from the ceiling, usually set on some horrible channel that no one wants to watch, overpriced vending machines that have been picked over so the only things left are trail mix or licorice, change dispensers that are inevitably out of order or just keep spitting out your dollar bill no matter how hard you try to flatten it out, tile floors with dryer lint and dust bunnies in the corners...its quite the scene.

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