Monday, August 15, 2011

Life on my own #4: The laundromat

First of all, how does one spell laundromat? Is it laundramat instead? My computer puts little red squigglies under both versions so now I’m desperate for an answer. Never mind that the dictionary is on the second shelf of the bookcase that’s about eight feet away.

Second of all, the actual blog post. One of the consequences of living on my own is that, instead of sharing one washer with four other people (my immediate family members), I share, say, twenty washers with a thousand other people. OK, maybe not a thousand. But you get the idea.

It’s a lot like college, really. Take your laundry, sit somewhere and do “homework” (read: free time reading) while your laundry tosses and turns in its cylindrical prison. Except at college I could walk about thirty steps and arrive at the laundry room door; here, I actually have to take my laundry, set it in the back seat of my car, and drive somewhere. Like a mile and a half of somewheres.

The laundromat I use is one the tenant above me recommended, nice and clean, she said. Must be; I saw one of the laundry attendants sweeping the parking lot with a straw broom the other day. Who sweeps a parking lot? The inside floor I’d understand, but outside asphalt exposed to all the elements? Huh. Maybe I’m just ignorant of the upkeep of a well-run business. For all I know somebody gets contracted to sweep hundreds of parking lots around the city. But I doubt it.

I’m highly thankful the machines here actually clean my clothes. The machines at college, they left this odd discoloring grime, an almost indiscernible layer, on all my whites and the rest of the clothes too, probably. Here, my whites come out actually white, not “I’m so close to white I could almost fool you” pale ivory. (I never thought I’d need to use those two words together, pale and ivory.)

They’re quick, too. A white load takes precisely 29 minutes, and others less time. The downside is that I hardly “get into” a book before the alarm on my phone buzzes and I know it’s time to switch out loads.

So sometimes I read a magazine instead of a book. Make that nearly all the time. I’ll also journal sometimes. Thing is, with journaling, it’s really easy to get distracted.

Take, for instance, the whirling and tumbling of clothes in the washer. The bench I habitually occupy is perpendicular to the line of washers, but even so you can sit at it and see the clothes go round and round and round and round……..

ooooh pretty colors…

and then the next thing you know, you’re surrounded by a bunch of mediums wanting to learn the secret of true hypnotization. Yeah, right, ladies. Like I know what happened to me as I was doing laundry. Here I am, the innocent apartment-dweller, and the evil nasty laundry machines try to put me to sleep! For all I know they interrogated me and got all the State secrets I had out of me!

OK, so maybe it doesn’t work quite like that. I’ve never met a medium nor have I ever learned any State secrets, but it sounded cool, didn’t it? And I don’t think I’ve ever been quite tired enough to fall asleep at a laundromat in broad daylight, sun streaming through the multitude of windows.

The whirling and tumbling does kind of fascinate me, though. There it cycles, round and round, and then it just stops, and the clothes sit there for a second, then it starts twirling the other way! I never grew up with a commercial washer, and even the ones at college were top-load, so this whole capability of actually watching the machine clean my clothes in real time is a little novel. Soothing too, like watching a wood fire leap and lick at the logs in a fireplace.

Maybe the cable companies should establish a live feed of laundromat washers tumbling clothes. I’m sure someone would watch it.


da_baum said...

Two things:
Thing 1: Laundromat is, indeed, correct.
Side note, there's this thing called, "The Internet," and you can look things up on it. It's a marvelous invention! No need for those silly physical dictionary things!
Side note 2: I am happy that I used "marvelous" in that sentence. It is a far underused word, but it makes me happy when it's used. I don't know why...

Thing 2: At the grocery store I worked at, my managers had me sweep the parking lot multiple times. Granted, most laundromats probably don't have store ads, cigarette butts (maybe that one?), and plastic bags all over the parking lot, but still... You would be surprised how many customers actually THANKED me for sweeping the parking lot, because it would look that bad...

Sarah said...

Response to side note 1: do tell me about this thing you call The Internet. Is it a magical dictionary? It sounds nearly like an oracle sometimes.

Response to thing 2: Yeah, there are occasional cigarette butts around the parking lot (almost all up near the window and the bench, of course) but that's about it. Nope no weekly circulars.

Sarah said...

Oh and I nearly forgot!! This was the second of my blog posts to appear on the editorial page of the paper I write for and I got comments from like three people in the office (not writers). Positive ones. :D (The other blog post that got published was the one about banana flies.)

da_baum said...

Response to your response to thing 2: I'm afraid that if you do not know of this thing called The Internet, I cannot help you, for you cannot possibly be reading this if you have no understanding of what The Internet is.

Response to your comment #2: Yay! That's pretty cool! I've never had any of my articles appear in a paper...weird...