Thursday, January 14, 2010
Because our clothes dryer's motor decided to make a dramatic exit the week of Christmas, (Dear Dryer, Nice timing, jerk. Sincerely, Gerb) I have recently become well acquainted with our local laundromats. It had been well over 16 years since I had the opportunity of laundering my family's clothing surrounded by strangers and I wasn't sure of where to go.
The first place I tried was like being in a foreign country right within a couple of miles of home. To summarize, I had children getting into my purse, eating my snacks and rummaging through my baskets while their parents sat nearby giving me threatening looks. When I went out to my car to lock my personal items in the trunk, I returned to find the mother of the previously mentioned children going through my clothes in the washing machines. (I promise you, I am not making this stuff up.) When I tried to ask the kids to stop or their mother to explain what in the world she thought she was doing, I was met with blank stares. The joke was on me... no one there spoke English. Needless to say, I did not return to this location.
My next attempt was in a place equally close to home but in a different direction. This place was definitely an improvement but it had the feel of a cowboy bar in the backwoods somewhere with a distinctive smell of chewing tobacco and some twangy music playing overhead... and me without my iPod. I firmly believe that I endured some sort of torture, having nothing to listen to except for the drone of washers and dryers along with sad songs about beer, trucks and boots. A homeless man wandered in, set his knapsack and bedding beneath a bench in the corner and checked all of the vending machines for forgotten change before locking himself in the bathroom for the remainder of the time I was there. I decided not to return here, either.
Allen suggested I try the place we frequented as college students way-back-when. I was skeptical about the location still being a laundromat but I was happy to give it a shot. As I approached the building I noticed that everything around it had changed but the laundromat was still there. Suffice it to say that this is the place I have returned to every time since. Clean facilities, new machines, wireless internet and a comfortable atmosphere made it worth the extra drive.
There are some things to be said for laundromats in general.
First of all, it is awesome to get 8 loads of laundry done in a two-hour time span. It is also fun to people-watch and enjoy some treats all to myself (except at that first place) as the washloads are running. I'm sure it must have saved us some money on our gas and water bill for the last few weeks as well.
It is no fun to load up the clothing and linens of 11 people and cart it into a self-serve laundry, basket by basket. There is also nothing glamorous about folding that amount of laundry in a short amount of time, keeping track of which dryers hold your items, or trying to hide your unmentionables from the people who surround you.
In the end it all comes down to this:
I'm definitely going to appreciate having a working dryer at home again.