6 Things About the Laundromat

For the first time in a while, I’m living in an apartment without an on-site laundry facility. There are hookups for a washer and dryer in my apartment, but come on. That’s like a restaurant saying “You bring the meat and vegetables, but don’t worry! We have seasoning and cooking utensils!”

Consequently, I am making regular trips to the laundromat. Share in my pain:

6. I’m the only person that reads 

I should clarify–I’m sure the other people I encounter there can read (probably)–but I never see them do it. If I have to spend 30 minutes or more waiting for my laundry, you’re goddamn right I’m bringing a book.

I guess the other people who frequent my laundromat don’t see it like that. In fact, it’s like they’ll do anything else to avoid cracking the spine of a book. Some watch the Spanish-language soap operas and talk shows that are often on the TVs, even though I’m positive some of those people can’t speak Spanish.

Others will play Angry Birds or just sit and stare. Still, others will go outside and chain smoke until their laundry is done. I mean, why use down time to better yourself?

5. Other people’s kids are the worst 

If you’ve ever been to a Wal-Mart, you already know this. While the adults of Laundro Land might be content to drool and stare at the wall, their kids will find their own fun. And make no mistake, it will be at the expense of the your eardrums and your patience.

Yep.

The laundromat I go to isn’t a terribly large place. Imagine my surprise when I saw four kids chasing each other, sprinting the length of the building at full-speed. That would have been enough to annoy me but they were also screaming at the top of their lungs.

Listen, I get that a lot of these people aren’t going to hire a babysitter for an hour while they do laundry. Also, I’m sure to a parent screaming children are just background noise–like the white noise of a fan to me. However, some of us live alone sans demon spawn. I’m not used to that type aural punishment.

Would it be too much for you to tell your kids to knock it off?

4. People are the worst

Kids are stupid. I can forgive them because most of the time they don’t know any better. Adults should know the rules of conventional society, though. More and more, I find that “adults” either don’t know these rules or actively choose to ignore them. If you’re doing the latter, that’s called “being a dick.” I’m pretty sure that’s the scientific term.

Anyway, the following is a true story. I was reading my book, while I waited for my laundry to dry. Shortly after I sat down, an elderly Asian gentleman walked into the laundromat. To paraphrase Louis C.K., it’s not important that he was Asian…but it kind of is.

The last sentence.

He put his clothes in a washing machine and proceeded to sit several seats away from me. A few minutes later, I heard a clicking sound. I looked to my right and saw the guy clipping his nails. There was no regard for anyone else–just clipping his nails like the entire laundromat was his private bathroom.

I turned my back to him as to avoid any unwanted finger nail shrapnel and tried to ride out his display of boorish disregard. After a couple of minutes, he got up, and I thought my personal hell was over. NOPE. He found a stool near one of the folding tables and brought it back to his seat. He then promptly started cutting his toe nails.

WHO DOES THIS!? I wish I could understand the thought process. It’s probably something like this: “Well, I could take an extra three minutes before I leave the house to do this seemingly private grooming activity or I could just do it while running errands because I’m an idiot. I’m sure no one will mind.” *Fart noise*

3. You’ll encounter all sorts of people 

Maybe this is redundant considering the last anecdote, but people from all walks of life and cultures come to laundromats. Not that we want to be there, but we’re all united by crappy apartments without washers and dryers.

Sure, I see plenty of people like me–overworked, underpaid 20-somethings. However, I also get to see the type of person who transports his laundry in plastic bags from Wal-Mart and that’s almost worth the pain-in-the-ass of going to the laundromat. Almost.

2. No one has ever picked someone up at a laundromat

Every now and then on TV commercials and shows, you’ll see two conventionally attractive people strike up a chance conversation at a laundromat that’s as witty as it is unexpected. If it’s not a conversation, it’s some other charming interaction. This serendipitous encounter either leads to or is implied to lead to a date or some good ole’ fashioned boning.

This will never happen. Ever. Pretty much everyone is pissed they have to be there, and, in my experience, no one even wants to ask if you’re done with that dryer.

1. Socks

If you thought you lost socks doing laundry at home, well, boy, wait until you have to leave the house to do it. You’ll lose approximately 63 percent of your socks.

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