Monday, September 22, 2008

laundromat culture

I half love, half loathe doing laundry at a laundromat. Some may wonder, what's there to love? You bare your dirty laundry among strangers, hope your underwear doesn't get lost, hope no one steals your pseudo-designer jeans while you run out for a cup of coffee. You worry the machine will eat your money, or your clothing won't be finished in the dryer after fifty minutes and you'll have to do the wetness test to see how much longer is needed. You have to horde quarters for a week beforehand and you often put off the entire process, opting to buy new undergarments instead. What did people do before the invention of Febreeze, anyway?

But, hear me out. People love to get their noses in others' business, and what better place to do so than at the laundromat? There, you can peak into your neighbor's lives. You learn who only wears black lace thongs. You learn who prefers to hang-dry their outfits and save a few bucks (and the electricity). I once saw a 20-something dude pull a pair of pink panties out of his washing machine, and witnessed his shocked reaction. "I swear, I have no idea how those got there!" he claimed. I'm sure they were from a month-old one night stand who figured it would be better to just hop in a cab than to search for one of the 40 thongs she owned.

Boston especially boasts a seemingly absurd number of businesses that offer dry-cleaning as well as either same day or DIY laundry. I would love to investigate the cost of having someone do my laundry for me at 90 cents a pound versus bringing it to the laundromat, but that is for a time when my finances matter a whole lot less. Plus, taking your laundry to someone else and having them do it for you is almost worse than taking it home to Mom. Plenty of people bring boat loads of laundry to their parents house whenever they visit, but even they themselves perform the act of washing and drying their clothing. You still have to cart all the dirty laundry to the 'We wash it for you!' businesses, which is my major complaint about laundromat use.

So, all your quarter-saving, twenty-something, first or second career kids know exactly what I'm talking about. Whether you love or loathe laundry, you certainly suck it up and do it every once in a while.