Recently we moved. With seven bodies in our house, boxes are not our friend. So, like the Tasmanian Devil, I (and my forced labor) tore into those things and put everything away in three days. Still, a few straggling issues remain. And a few unexpected issues arose.
Like our sweet wonderful dryer. Our faithful friend for well over ten years has accompanied us through two moves (please let this be the LAST!) and dried well over … okay, I can’t begin to imagine how many loads of wet laundry. Somewhere in this move, our drier must of misunderstood its unplugging as a get-out-of-jail-free card. I think it’s gone on to a happier, less strenuous place.
Maybe not. Maybe there’s still a little life in our friend. The repairman has been summoned, but our clothes continue to dirty. And, what’s a large family to do?
The Laundromat is your friend. You can get done in an hour what normally takes all day. And rather than wash, let sit, wash again (because the clothes have mildewed … please tell me I’m not the only one), dry, wait, fluff, wait, fluff, wait, fluff, fold because another load needs the drier – you can get it all done at once. The Laundromat removes tasks from the to-do. Rather than have the home machines loaded every day. We pile the clothes, which apparently my kids prefer to do anyway, and gather a week’s worth to clean in one fail swoop.
I can run four washing machines and six driers together and complete what seems to be a never-ending task in less than two hours. With helpers, an hour and thirty.
And the people at the Laundromat are terrific. On the whole. There was one guy who tried to sell me used television parts, then shot me the standard “Can you spare $2 for my bus ride.” I’m not saying he was lying, but he had been sitting and chatting with everyone until he saw me (and any other fresh meat that walked in the door.) But even in his press for cash, he was still so nice. When I honestly told him I had nothing (because I forgot my wallet and couldn’t stomach driving back home. So while sitting in the parking lot, I dug through and under every space in the car to find quarters, ever grateful for my Future Hoarder of America and his baggie full of coins tucked nicely behind his carseat.) he asked me how my day was going and shot me several genuine smiles
The Laundromat is like Cheers. A guy just walked in and as if on cue, the core group seated at the tables lining the front of the Spin Cycle chimed in together, “Pepito!!!” Pleasantries, winks and back-slap embraces were exchanged as he grabbed a cart and started to sort.
All ages, all colors, all socioeconomic backgrounds (one guy is reading his Economist, sipping a Starbucks). Tv’s blaring Spanish and English. Dora winning out on volume. No once cares because we all appreciate the moms needing a little distraction for little ones that can only take so much watching driers spin.
With dirty clothes. Because everyone has them. Everyone has to wash them. Every dries. Everyone sorts and folds. Everyone searches for matching socks.
Which is a great life lesson. When we get caught up in life’s hectic racing and competition, wouldn’t it be nice to slow down every so often and look around at the people who are just like us. Wonderful people who go through challenges. People who celebrate successes. People whose socks don’t match… just like us.
As I stand next to a man ten years my senior with a differing job description, I’m moved by the way he carefully cares for and folds his clothes. His stack of khaki work pants and white shirts looks a bit different than my pile of varying-sized t-shirts that I sort into seven different stacks. He smiles at me. I smile back. And I relish the fact that at the core, we’re all the same.
Here’s hoping I remember that someone regular, at the same time pretty special, is standing next to me in the grocery store line … or folding clothes at the Spin Cycle. And maybe I will remember that we’re never in this thing alone.
People … arguably the best thing about the world.
Thanks for walking the road with me.
More than one use for quarters in the Spin Cycle.
… including the bathroom. Who knew?
Plus great lessons in efficiency. For close to the same amount of money, time can be saved six driers rather than three. The smaller the load, the faster it dries. The more hands working together, the lighter the load. Up close and personal. … Good stuff.
Funniest comment of the day: When I excitedly began to point out one of my favorite things about the Laundromat (folding stations like the one above), one of the kids excitedly said, “They have folding machines?!!”
Would that be great! And why not? Maybe some technologically capable, equipped kid can come up with that one.
And yet, true to form, somehow we missed washing this basket of dirty clothes.
I guess it will give us a reason to return sooner, rather than later.