Sunday, February 11, 2007

When I was about 11 or 12, my Mom brushed by me in the kitchen and said in her usual dry wit "Come with me to the laundry room. Heres the deal--I'm not doing your laundry anymore". Off I followed her to our 70's brown shag basement, grunting all the way, while she taught me the ways the of the washing machine, dryer, soap levels, bounce sheets and folding technique. And so a new man/boy was born: Laundry Thadd. He who does his own laundry. After that I never wanted anyone else to do my laundry. Who would know how to fold my shirts the way I like? Or take out my favorite pair of jeans and t-shirt 10 minutes into the dry cycle to ensure no shrinkage? I actually enjoyed taking my clothes downstairs to wash, it was a form of therapy in my teens.

When I moved into my first apartment in Chicago there was luckily a washer and dryer in the basement! The stone room looked like a scene from SILENCE OF THE LAMBS but nevertheless it did its job, and I didn't have to go anywhere to get my underoo's spic and span.
Cut to living in New York and the far away Laundromat is my new friend. More like acquaintance/enemy as this was something I did not embrace. I felt the spoiled Thadd who's Mom used to wash his clothes surface as I lugged my mesh bag down the street, lug the soap, lug the hangers, hit my shins, fall over the rolly cart. Not so fun. The apartment here in Brooklyn used to have a Laundromat right outside our door. A vile prison, filled with screaming kids, machines that broke down and an irate angry owner who hated all humans in sight and smoked and drinked with his buddies outside our kitchen until all hours of the night...'Hi there scary laundry man, can I have some quarters please?" (silence, glares and spewing hatred) There also was this crazy Sri Lankin woman who would yell at her hyper 3 year old for climbing into the machines. It closed about six months ago and is now being renovated to become a pizza pub or something. Although I miss the convenience of it, I don't miss its hellish atmosphere. Now I go down two big blocks to the sudsy Clean Rite, a large bright place that despite its distance I semi enjoy going to. There's always a secret dread inside when I see my large laundry bag next to my dresser calling to me "Its lauuuundry day, Laundry Thadd". But I know at least Clean Rite is bareable. And there's a snack machine. As I continue apartment dwelling I know laundromat will always have to be visited, but I miss the days of a washer and dryer in the house. How blessed we were as a family to have this luxury. But for some reason, Laundromats here seem to remain a source of punishment for some long lost karmic debt. If only Mom never took me downstairs at 11, perhaps she would to this day still be folding my long johns.

In honor of Laundromats all around the world here are some recent signs I've seen blaring out laundromat windows. Laundromats. Heaven or Hell? You decide:

1 comment:

Brian Davie said...

Laundry is like going to the gym for me. I dread it before but am so glad when its done.