Sunday, October 17, 2010

Laundry Days are Here Again

I am one of those psychotic individuals who love doing laundry. Taking something that’s soiled and fabric softening it within an inch of its life makes my germaphobic little heart skip a beat. I love grabbing a clean, giant, warm ball of laundry from the dryer, especially when Tide Pure Essentials White Lilac scent wafts my way (it's no coincidence that Rochester, NY has an annual Lilac Festival). I love separating clean laundry into piles and stacking each one neatly. Except for fitted sheets, which I will never be able to manage. I love putting the laundry in its rightful place in my closet. When my laundry is finished, all is right with the world.

That being said, I do not love doing laundry in Manhattan. There used to be a laundromat right underneath my apartment building, which was almost as exciting as having laundry in the building. But then someone turned it into the 21st Thai restaurant in a 10-block radius. So now I have to walk an extra block while clutching the overflowing raspberry-and-white striped laundry bag I have used since my freshman year of college.

I live in a fifth floor walkup building, so every time I leave the premises, I have 97 stairs to contend with. I don't hate the stairs themselves, but navigating them and crossing the street while carrying my laundry bag isn't the best time I've ever had. If I don't wait for my clothes to finish each cycle at the laundromat, I have to take extra laps on the stairs—down to drop off my laundry, up to my apartment, down to put it in the dryer, up to my apartment, down to take it out of the dryer, up to my apartment. That makes 582 stairs. It reminds me of the old “I forgot to add the fabric softener!” commercial with the little cartoon woman furiously running the stairs from her top floor apartment to the basement. Even she had laundry in the building.

The laundromat was beautiful when it opened three years ago—brand new machines, pleasant foreign employees, and an amusing sign that reads, "Custormer have to Responsible for Damage Machine.” But it has slowly taken a downward turn. I’m pretty sure it’s as dirty as a subway pole, and the folding area seems to be the home for sinister-looking neighborhood meetings attended by ne'er-do-wells. And as much as I loathe admitting being a Bad Samaritan, I was more than slightly disturbed when I had to put my clean laundry into a dryer that had just been vacated by a homeless man's blanket. I wouldn't have been quite as upset had I known that the blanket came from a detergent-filled washer, but I'm pretty sure it came directly from the sidewalk on a rainy day.

For several glorious months when I lived in a railroad apartment with a lovely 50-year-old menopausal woman (whose bedroom I had to walk through to get to mine), I had a washer and dryer
in the apartment! Now that was living! Hearing stories about unseasonably warm spring temperatures increasing the chafing of her thighs when she walked was a small price to pay for having clean socks whenever I wanted them. The dryer, topped with butcher block, lived in the kitchen, and the washer—which had to be attached by hose to the kitchen sink—lived in the closet. When it was laundry time, I had to drag the washer out of the closet and into the kitchen and plug it into a socket in the bathroom, which made the bathroom unusable. The dryer took at least two hours to dry half a load of clothes, which was all I could cram in there. Regardless, the four months I spent in that apartment were my April freshest months to date.

My days of doing laundry conveniently are but a good smelling dream. Until the time I win the lottery, choose a more lucrative career path, or shack up with a rich appliance-owner, I must resign myself to the fact that owning a washer and/or a dryer may not be in the cards for me. Let this be a cautionary tale for all you suburbanites who have a washer and a dryer for your personal use in the basement of your very own home: Consider yourselves lucky. And clean.

1 comment:

  1. Oh the glory of having a washer and dryer in your apartment! Something I was lucky to have for 9 short months is the thing most people don't even realize is a luxury!!!