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Laundramat Adventures of a Single Mom

Often, I think of the beautiful, royal blue dryer, with it’s “Sanitize” function, and “Steam Wrinkle Release” option, not to mention how it was one of the largest dryers on the market, and most importantly….it was ours….or I should say mine considering my ex-husband never did the laundry, yet expected it to miraculously just be washed, dried, and magically reappear in the appropriate drawer. During my marriage, never had I wanted an appliance, but after our previous dryer kept ruining clothes we finally broke down, and I must say, that dryer made laundry much less painful. Yes, often I think of how lovely it was to do wash any and many days a week at an hour of my choosing, in the convenience of my own home. Those days however are so long behind me, some days they seem just a distant memory. Since my divorce, my children and I moved in to a place with no washer and dryer and no connections to hook up. For nearly three years now, doing laundry means a trip, or several back and forth, to the nearest Laundromat. I try and limit wash day to just one day a week. One day a week to pack up all the laundry accumulated in a week, between myself and two children who can’t seem to stay clean for even 10 minutes. Please take in to consideration my eight year old daughter who has to change clothes at least three times before actually finding what she would like to wear, and a son who, when I say, “Go clean your room” will often take clothing that has never been worn and throw it into the hamper.

Some very interesting things happen at a Laundromat, not to mention the very interesting individuals one meets during their time there. One who truly sticks out in my mind was a man by the name of Universal….yes, that’s really what he said his name was. Quite friendly. He saw me carrying in two incredibly large laundry bags and must have thought I was a weak, feeble female who needed assistance. He obviously didn’t see the bulging of my biceps as I single handedly carried 30 lbs of laundry, and laundry soap, and my wallet and phone, walking with a sense of purpose like laundry was my mission. He not only opened the door for me, but proceeded to take my clothes, walk them all the way down to washers of his choosing, and start loading them into the machine! All while rambling a mile a minute. Really, I’m thinking, “Dude, I got it, please don’t touch my panties”. That’s when he introduces himself, saying his name is Universal. He follows it up with, “See, I have it right here” and shows me his forearms. I look down to see not a tattoo but the most horrible scarring (and no, for the record, I could not make out where the brand said, “Universal”). He followed it up with, “you like that? I did it myself…with a wire coat hanger”. “Wooooooooooow”, trying to hide the look on my face when in actuality I’m thinking a prison tattoo probably would have looked better.

I quickly thank him for his help explaining how I have things to do. After a few comments on how well I fill out my leggings he tells me how he’s waiting on his ride, and doesn’t know if he will be there when I get back. (Thank GOD). He asks for my number, but then hesitates…. “I could save your number in this phone but it’s actually my niece’s phone, but if I write it down I could use my homeboys phone later on”. Ok, sir lets be real a minute… You are trying to sound hard and appear dateable however from our very short conversation I know you don’t have a washer and dryer (hence, you, like myself are at the Laundromat), you don’t have a car (you are waiting on your ride), you don’t have a phone, (you are currently holding your nieces), and you have self brands from a coat hanger on your arms. I am not the judging type, but if you have ever heard TLC’s “I Don’t Want No Scrub”… that’s what’s currently playing in my mind. Thank you for your hospitality in trying to put my clothes into a washer for me, but I’m good.

Then there was the time when I see a lady who I’ve seen around the neighborhood several times, bumps in to me at the Laundromat. She had one time followed me in to the store to ask if I played the lottery. She said she has seen my car and always plays my license plate number. When I see her at the Laundromat she mentions that I have a nice car and she is still playing those numbers. I tell her to keep up the faith, and we exchange friendly small talk as I load the washer. We bid our ado’s and I go about my errands.

When it becomes time for me to retrieve my clothes from the dryer, the lady is on the opposite end of the Laundromat also folding. I look around and notice my laundry bags are nowhere to be seen. I second guess myself and go out to my car to look for them. I realize I most definitely left them lying on the folding table nearest my washer. Seriously, who would want to steal laundry bags? All my time doing laundry there and never have I had any one mess with my stuff. I go back in, looking once more with no positive result and ask the woman if she has seen two white, mesh laundry bags. She coldly replies, “No”. At this point I look down and see two white mesh laundry bags… MY Laundry bags amongst her additional plastic hampers. I ask again, “Are you SUUUURE you haven’t seen two mesh laundry bags? One is plain; the other has a Game Cocks logo?” (Let’s be clear, not because I’m a Carolina fan, but because it was a good sturdy bag and it was at the Goodwill for $1) She again replies, “No. All I have is this ripped up one, which is mine” As she is loading her clothes into MY ripped up bag. She then proceeds to tell me how someone had taken money out of her wallet which she had left on the laundry table apparently near where I was doing my clothes. First, who leaves their wallet at a Laundromat or anywhere for that matter, expecting it to be safe? And second, you think I took your money..?! And by taking my laundry bags, that’s going to be justice? Bless you, nasty woman. You are apparently even harder up than I.

Most people take for granted the very act of doing laundry. If anything, these, among many other experiences have made me that much more blessed and grateful. I will feel incredibly grateful when I again in life have a washer and dryer in my home, at my disposal. But in the mean time, clean clothes are a beautiful thing. So on to wash another day, which truly is an adventure.

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