Sunday, November 18, 2012

"Is he really going to do a post about laundry day?" (sigh) Yes.

Welcome to my Sunday.

There's a special kind of existential despair which sets in on laundry day, isn't there? Despite such optimistic product names as Fab and Cheer, there is very little merriment in this regularly-occurring ritual. There you are, alone, with your own wardrobe for a few long hours. Your clothes are a big part of how you present yourself to the world, so in a sense, they define you. And now, a big part of your identity is gurgling and struggling in a dense, squat machine while you sit helplessly by and observe the vaguely shameful rite. It isn't even about you. It's a battle between the machine and your clothes. You are there simply to witness the event.

You can't put cheer in a box.
I'm an apartment dweller and there are no laundromats or dry cleaners within a manageable distance, so I rely on the communal laundry room in the basement of my complex. It is an almost unimaginably grim locale -- dimly-lit, musty, and seemingly haunted by the ghosts of those long passed. While you wait for the machine to finish doing whatever it needs to do to your clothes, you can explore the various corridors down there, dark passageways which lead to boilers and storage lockers, but this is not recommended. When you're in this basement, you get the definite sense that this is a place where people have suffered. "Terrible things have occurred here," you think to yourself. It's a laundry room, of course, so there are the occasional discarded or forgotten items of clothing -- usually leftover socks. Today, I noticed that someone had draped a pair of child's underpants over a rusty pipe. That seems like a detail from an avant garde art installation by a relapsing heroin junkie, but it's actually just a routine part of my day every time the hamper is full and the sock drawer is empty.

The washers and dryers in the basement are the completely opaque, windowless kind, so I don't even have the satisfaction of watching my clothes tumble around in there. I am told that some people find this soothing. Perhaps I can glean some kind of vicarious comfort from this YouTube video:

Eh, it's not the same.

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