« Can I Get a Turn to Whine? | Main | Relocating for a Spouse's Job »

May 18, 2009

Suburban Laundromat Smackdown

-1 I must begin by confessing my guilt about going to a laundromat in the first place. I am fortunate enough to have a washer and dryer in my own home. I am not, however, fortunate enough to have one of those large capacity numbers. I am secretly tortured by the annoying commercial with Kelly Ripa peddling those big-ass Electrolux steam washer/dryers that can wash AND dry an over-sized load in less than 36 minutes – to the tune of the old Bewitched theme song, I might add! How can that be? This is like the microwave of laundry. And I am surely not buying that she does her own laundry! But, damn, I secretly covet those appliances.

Back to the laundromat. While in college and afterwards when I lived in the city without a washer and dryer, I had valid reason to frequent the laundromat. I belonged. I was a regular. In college we found one located near a bar and turned laundry night into a party. When I lived in the city I was well versed in the laundry room routine. Located in the bowels of the basement, it was not someplace I loved to do my wash, but I had it down to a science and I was surely not out of place there.

Enter the suburban laundromat. On a Saturday morning, no less. This is peak laundry time. Dressed in my walking clothes, sneakers and WFUV radio station baseball cap it is safe to say I did not fit in here. But my daughter was coming home from college that afternoon and her comforter could be braided with all the dog hair that was on it. While I was at it, I realized that my son's looked quite the same. 

I have done the drop-off thing at this establishment before and they charged me $40 each to wash these blankets. Robbery, I say, and I refused to pay that again when I could use my loose quarters and do it myself.

Picture me, two big fluffy denim comforters, covered with white dog hair, in my arms; carrying my own detergent and softener – I will be damned if I pay for theirs. I walked in the door and immediately spotted two side by side large capacity washers with their doors ajar signaling their availability and no 'out of order' signs taped to the outside. Hey, I may no longer be a regular, but it's like riding a bike. These kind of strategies are imprinted for life.

As I walked over to the machines, one of two 'regulars' immediately moved her wheeled laundry basket in front of one of the machines. Mind you, there were no clothes in this basket. Our eyes locked. Neither of us said a word. I am not positive but I am pretty sure some ominous soundtrack began to play in the background. 

Suburban Laundromat Smackdown!

Then, out of nowhere, the second woman showed up with an armful of laundry, that quite frankly could have fit in one of the smaller machines. This was obviously a turf thing. Again, our eyes locked. Not a word was spoken as I loaded only one of the comforters into the other machine. 

At that point I was trying to play it cool as if I belonged there. I tried not to make it too obvious that I was reading the directions on the machine because I had no idea how it worked. Idiot!

They were being kind, I suppose. Throwing the newbie a bone of the single machine. Inconveniencing me to the point of having to make multiple trips back to get both blankets clean, but not making it impossible for me to get the job done. After all, there was a certain sisterhood at play.

All kidding aside, the whole experience actually left me a bit unnerved. I came back to the house and told my husband and some young neighbors about what happened. They laughed because each one of them had similar experiences when their home machines either broke or were not large enough. 

So, what is it that had me so uneasy? I think it was the guilt. I felt as if I did not have the right to use this facility. Perhaps going on an off-laundry-hour would have made me less uncomfortable. 

Was there really a smackdown of sorts in front of that machine, or had I imagined it? Nope, pretty sure it was real. 

Perhaps I should have just shaved the dog. 

Original 50-something Mom Blog posts. Amy also blogs at i could cry but i don't have time and leaving the zip code.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Suburban Laundromat Smackdown: