I had way too much fun over the weekend to bother with laundry and what with this and that and going to the dog park, but Wednesday night it was too late to even consider. It had to get done last night or I’d be going to work commando today.
So I set out into the rain, two baskets in the back seat. Had to stop at Crap-Mart to get some laundry soap and as I was wheeling the cart to the register I looked over my potential purchases and wondered what conclusions people would draw about my life. You know, how you do in a crowded mega store.
Electric razor. Laundry soap and Oxy-Clean. Ginormous box of scoopable cat litter. What? It was on sale. Six cans of cat food. Friskies because the Little Prince will only eat Friskies, the fish flavors, shreds, not pate. A mat that promises to keep the litter in the vicinity of the box.
Conclusion? Crazy cat lady with mounds of dirty laundry and hairy legs. Great. Thank god I’d skipped the cookie sale!
After lugging my purchases to the car and lugging the laundry into Spin City (the only game in town) I got started. The laundry had already been sorted and I popped the two burlap bags into a top loader before anyone could object (rug hooking!!) and was loading up three front loaders, minding my own business, lost in a daydream and eager to get back to my book, when a woman tapped me on the shoulder, nearly causing me to scream.
Is it just me, or does everyone generally avoid eye contact at the laun-dro-mat? I tend to shove the dirty stuff into the machines, eager to get them going so no one can make judgements about my clothes or the dirt on them. I’m probably just paranoid, but it feels too intimate for people to be looking at my clothes, all limp and dirty like that. Anyway.
“I don’t know if you’ve used these machines before,” the woman said, “but don’t put the soap in until you’ve started the machine or it will just run out and not stay in with the clothes.” Followed by a long-winded explanation about how I should add the soap and some other nonsense that was totally necessary. Granted, I was wearing rain clothes, but I’m pretty sure she could see I was female, and not young, so how could she think I didn’t know how to do my own laundry? I thanked her for the heads-up and shook my head as she walked away.
La la la la la. The clothes go round and round. The soap bubbles up. The water isn’t too dirty, but then again, I hadn’t loaded the machines up to capacity, either.
Another woman approaches.
“What made you choose these machines?” she asked. At my confused look, she went on. “I always thought those were dryers and I’ve always used the top loaders. I just never paid attention before!” This was not a young woman, but a middle aged woman like myself – she HAD to have done this before.
She went on to explain that she had a washer and dryer at home but was having problems with the washer drain and had to come to Spin City to wash.
I told her that I chose the larger machines because I was washing fabric and felting sweaters – the clothes were an added bonus to save time. There! That made me sound all Artsy and Sophisticated instead of a loser who doesn’t have a washer and dryer at home.
“Oh! You’re crafty? You’re washing fabric?”
“Yep. I sew & quilt, knit and spin and lots of other stuff and regular washers just don’t do the job when you’re washing yardage.”
She lost interest at that point and wandered off about the time the Cleaner Boy arrived. He is tall, with a really bad haircut. He has the braying voice of a redneck who thinks if he only talks loud enough he’ll sound smart. That’s a cruel thing to say, but I lived in his town and let me tell you, the natives are a little…let’s just say…inbred…and leave it at that.
He asked a million questions of everyone, trying to engage us, but really, we’re here to get a job done and go home, not have a conversation. Finally everyone was gone but me and the homeless drunk guy who acted like he was moving in for the night.
Cleaner Boy just wouldn’t leave me alone. I asked for a rag to wipe out the top loader I used (burlap sheds horribly the first time it gets washed) and evidently that means we’re now BFFs. He started asking questions and it came out that I have a dog. He leaned in conspiratorially. “If your dog is in the car, after these people leave you can bring her inside – it’s okay while I’m here…”
Yeaaaaahhh. Thank god I left her at home! Dude was getting way too cozy.
Finally, everything was dry and I was packed up to get out of there.
“Do you know the time?” I asked my new BFF.
“Oh, crap! I gotta go!”
Cleaner Boy carried one of my baskets out to the car, said, “have a great night, Ma’am,” and loped off in the rain.
Anyone else notice that laun-dro-mats are like casinos? No clocks. The mesmerizing sound of the machines. You plug quarters in the slots until you have no more, snap out of a haze and realize how much time you’ve lost. The only thing missing is free drinks…