Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Pit of Laundry Despair

I live in a soulless high rise apartment building. It’s a concrete filing cabinet with slots for widows, single people, and recent immigrants. Usually, two of the three elevators are busted, and the functioning one stops at every floor due to the shenanigans of bratty kids.

On the other hand, it’s rent-controlled and all-inclusive. So I don’t care. Oh, except for the basement laundry room, which I’ve taken to calling the Pit of Laundry Despair. However, instead of a wheelbarrow-toting albino, we have the Glamourous Ladies of Washing(ton). GLOW, if you will.

The GLOW engage in at least three, if not all six, of the following reprehensible communal living behaviors:

  1. Suck up at least five washers.
  2. Use at least twice as many dryers as washers, thereby creating a logjam, because for some godforsaken reason my building has twice as many washers as dryers.
  3. Remove said items from washers one item at a time, shaking them out, regarding them closely, and transferring them lovingly to a dryer.
  4. Remove and fold items from the dryer one by one, instead of dumping them on a table to be folded.
  5. Scatter clothes over every flat surface to be folded, preventing anyone else from folding their laundry.
  6. Do all of the above in ratty sweatpants with words across the rump, while their children roller-skate in circles around the folding table.

The Princess Bride had an amazing device that could suck years off your life. My building’s Pit of Despair has a similar life-shortening contraption: dryers. Somehow, of the paltry seven dryers, at least two will be out of order. And the ones that do work will convert your clothes into a tasty snack of melted cotton and stir-fried denim.

So, what can I do? Go to a Laundromat? Neat trick, except I don’t have a car. Leave passive-aggressive notes all over the basement? Building management already tried that, it was pretty hopeless. Complain on my blog, in the hopes that people will commiserate? Done!


Anonymous said...

my roommates used to be horrible with the washer in my old house, the laundry machines in old apartment buildings back in college? Worthless.

Since boyfriend bought a washer and dryer for his apartment about a year ago...i couldn't be happier :)

Ibid said...

Date someone with a washing machine.

Marissa said...

"Date someone with a washing machine?" Unless said significant other lives across the street, it seems a little ridiculous to lug your laundry to another neighborhood to be washed without a motorized form of transportation. Christ, this is the First F*cking World, right? Is it too much to ask to have a civilized laundry room in a large apartment building?

On an unintentionally "in your face" note, my laundry room is the exact opposite of what you describe. I'm always the only one in there, which is nice, but creepy. Like really creepy.

Mike said...

Once again, an orange plastic minivan would save the day.

Shannon said...

Heidi, my college dorm didn't even have a laundry room. We had to carry our stuff across the quad, uphill, both ways, in the snow. Or keep buying new underwear until we could go home and get our moms to do it.

Ibid, I am. But I refuse to truck my laundry across state lines.

Marissa, you can come do laundry at my building anytime. Lots of company! With women who wear pants with words on the ass.

Mike, only if the orange plastic minivan had a washer and dryer in the back. Which wouldn't leave room for the waterbed or bead curtains.

Tina said...

Don't you just love how the same GLOW worms that shake inspect and fold everyone of their freaken garments one at a time will dump your stuff into a pike on the floor if you are even a second late getting back for it?

God I'm so grateful for my washer and dryer right now. I've been griping about wanting new / larger etc. Thanks for taking me back.

Sorry to hear you have not transpo - Wegmans would be worth the plastic minivan though.

Kristen S. said...

I hear ya....I had a backlog of laundry because of lugging down to the basement (no elevator), and always have the 2 washers and 2 dryers in use. Then I got a portable washing machine that hooks up to my faucet. I have to hang my clothes to dry, but no more backlog!

Shannon said...

Tina, I know you probably meant to say "pile," but "pike" is funnier. I picture the GLOW jamming my fine washables onto a sharp wooden spike in the middle of the room. Very medeival.

Kristen, a portable washer? Why not bring your clothes down to the river in a bucket and wash them there?

Justin said...

Can you find a time when assword women aren't doing laundry?

Hey Pretty said...

As much as I may complain about my group house, I must say that the laundry situation there is decidedly uncomplicated. It's free. There are 5 of us. Everyone is respectful of other peoples' stuff. It's quite nice.

Shannon said...

Justin, the only time assword women aren't doing laundry is when the young couple who scream at each other through the entire laundering process are occupying the laundry room.

HP, I'm sort of jealous. Then I remember that I can walk around in my underwear if I want, and I feel better.

lacochran said...

Develop the strange-looking but very effective habit of alway having your elbows at right angles at the laundry folding table. Once you've jabbed your way to a little space of your own, trip one of the rugrats.

"Poor thing fell. I think I saw the ice cream truck outside. That would make woogums feel better."
"Wahhh--ice cream? Mom, can I have ice cream? Mom, can I have ice cream? Mom, can I have ice cream?"
"Better hurry if you're going to catch him."
... and they're off!

Jo said...

Gosh, this reminds me of my apartment in Ballston! On top of all of that the laundry room was dark and scary with freaky looking tenants. Oh the memories ;-). Best thing to do is to do laundry at a weird time. Then you can do A LOT of loads.

Shannon said...

Lacochran, the ice cream truck in my neighborhood is famous for having bars on the windows, never coming to a complete stop, and, as my friend Erin pointed out, it makes a whooping sound instead of playing music.

Jo, I've taken to doing laundry right when I come home from work, so it hasn't been as bad lately.

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