When my laundry dryer failed to cooperate yesterday, I grabbed a handful of quarters and my youngest child to go in search of a laundromat. It's been a while since my last visit, so I couldn't help but wax nostalgic about my past experiences as a downtown single gal doing group laundry.
I somehow remembered it all as being rather romantic.
The interesting people.
The communal folding.
The dumping out of other people's wet laundry because nobody bothered claiming it when all the washers were full.
I even built up the experience for Joey and insisted this was going to be a grand adventure.
As I walked in, I couldn't get over the size of the washing machines. They were mammoth. I stood in front of one such beast for about ten minutes trying to figure out what to do before the laundry matron (is that the term?) walked over to assist. I pulled out my handful of quarters and looked sheepishly at her as she began to direct me.
Oh, honey. You got a twenty? There's a change machine over there. I think prices have gone up since the last time you were at a laundromat.
I was confused. I brought like $6 in quarters. That wasn't enough? By the time I got back from the change machine, the laundry lady was busy shoving 4 of my comforters into a machine.
Um....isn't that a bit much for one washer?
Oh, darlin'. This machine takes 9 loads.
Where can I get one??
This was so much better than the olden days. The woman continued to stuff my 15 loads of wash (4 comforters, sheets, pillow cases and a weekend's worth of clothes for 5 people) into 2 washing machines. Holy sh*t. I wanted to live here.
But then came the tricky party. Joey. Joey got bored. He started climbing in and out of washing machines. He got his hand stuck in a gumball machine. He damn near broke the only arcade game there by banging some kind of gun on the screen while yelling "die...DIE!" The laundry boss gave me a a dirty look. I now needed to get out of there ASAP.
I quickly proceeded to the dryers. For as fast and efficient I found the washing machines, the dryers were like molasses in January. Every 12 minutes (which is how much time you get per quarter), I'd test one of my 15 spinning lots to see if the items were done. It was like trying to keep plates turning on a stick. I suppose I could have tossed in extra quarters just to make sure enough time was purchased for sufficient drying, but that's not my way. Plus, Joey used like 6 of my quarters to buy M&M's out of a dirty old candy dispenser. My laundry funds were nearing depletion.
I dropped and dropped and dropped more quarters in. And each time I opened the door to check for fluffy clean towels, it was as if my wet clothes were mocking me.
Four hours later, everything was mostly dry. Or rather, only slightly damp. It took 5 trips back and forth in a busy parking lot to get everything in my car. I dropped one of the comforters in a puddle. Joey screamed at the top of his lungs from the front of the laundromat where I left him for a second with another mom to keep him from darting through traffic:
MOMMMY! WHY ARE YOU LEAVING ME HERE???! I'LL BE GOOD FOREVER!! PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME!!
Moral of the story: laundry sucks.
But I guess you already knew that.