There is nothing on earth I abhor more than laundry day. It is the eater of a thousand productive hours, the devourer of days on end. Each moment of procrastination, from the point at which you first start looking very carefully at a shirt that any rational person would discredit as dirty, to the point where you no longer have any other underwear to turn inside out feeds the beast, waiting for that enviable day off, when you naively think to yourself:
“Well, I’ve got a little time to kill, might as well do a little laundry.”
Next thing you know, it’s 10 years later and the man who used to be the kid next door is going through your pockets, and has already taken the time to write “GONAD” on your forehead in sharpie, and the most interesting thing about you, is your bumper stickers.
Save a cow, eat a vegetarian
My wife’s other car is a broom
Osama loves your SUV
Laundry day has consumed your youth.
Multiply your dread by ten if you have to leave the sanctity of your house to launder your clothing, as I am most surely doing at this precise moment. If you’re in some communal laundry room, or Laundromat. Harsh fluorescent bulbs Buzzing and talking in come language unknown to you. The smell of a thousand uncleaned detergent spills. A sickly sweet smell made by flowers never to be found in nature. A fresh spring time air that’s never blown. The freshness of a million mountains that cant be found on a single map. Roving militia of dust bunnies created in a moment where people were thoughtful enough to clean a lint trap, but just shy of enough decency to throw the sloughed off fibers of a billion cardigans into the trash. Kids running and climbing over you. Three wheeled laundry carts limping about like old cantankerous men, eating spare socks when nobody’s watching. The entire circus haunted by the ethereal ghostlike forms of expired dryer sheets
All ye who enter here, abandon all hope.
Add fifty points of horror if the first part of your daily battle in a quest for clothing that doesn’t reek, and stand stiff on its own is the dreaded Lug. The lug being the trip from your front door, carrying every piece of clothing you own, save for the clothes on your back and the shoes on your feet. You wont make two trips. No, not you. You want to take everything possible in one awkward backache making move. Clothes, detergent, dryer sheets, fabric softener, downy ball, Woolite, Woolite black. Woolite with bleach. Woolite with color safe bleach. A good book, or in my case a laptop. Cigarettes, a drink or two, a bag of chips, a picture of a loved one, a living will. You only carry the essentials. The things you need to move into the laundry room for a somewhat extended stay. Whatever you cant carry stays dirty. You heft this all like a gypsy. A Bedouin nomad. The nylon cord from the poorly designed, cheap laundry bag biting into your hand, where you wrap it for stability. The red welt on your forearm where the weight was distributed the least evenly is a mark of courage. Receipt for a right of passage. You are a human being now. Upgraded from pelts and skins, to things that need to be washed in a delicate cycle. A panty bag. In cold water only. No tumble dry.
Give yourself 50 ingenuity points if you were smart enough to buy off-brand detergent so that you’d have no qualms about using it all, just to save yourself the weight of carrying it back.
Good. You’re learning now.
Add seventy-five points to your rage index for every impatient, insensitive Laundry room resident who feels the need to, empty your dryer/washer/cart three seconds after your cycle of usage is up. Everyone doe-eyed innocent, and moving like hive drones when you come back into the room to see a pile of your wet unmentionables on a folding table that hasn’t been clean since its initial unfolding. Some god awful Hawaiian shirt spinning in the washer that by your best estimates ended its cycle three milliseconds ago. Your accusing eyes scanning the room, making contact with another’s about as often as it rains in the Gobi. You glance incredulous at your pile. Bleeding onto the linoleum. Sitting limp. Continually looking back at the Hawaiian infested washer, spinning purple and green in taunting manner reminiscent of grade school limericks and momma jokes.
Give yourself a fifteen point confrontation bonus if you make a “fucking people these days, Jesus” comment aloud before slamming your clothing into the dryer.
Don’t forget your dryer sheets. We’re aiming for sunshine fresh here. Obtaining it is a priority. don’t mind your ghosts. They’ll haunt someone else.
Give yourself the gridlock award for the upcoming trial at the folding table. Elbow to elbow, shoulder to shoulder, everyone folds with their arms fully extended in some way or another to get some room. Beside you a man is attempting to fold a t shirt above his head. It’s as if in one section of the room, the universe has turned off the gravity. Just on that shirt. Some clever one-liner tethered to the earth by a pair of fumbling folding hands.
I’m home, take me drunk.
Welcome to New York. Now go home.
New Mexico, now 75% cleaner than regular Mexico.
It’s a good thing Neil Armstrong had a space suit. Folding clothes in space seems like it would be a little awkward.
Fold your clothes and pile them high. Higher than anyone else. They laughed at the people who wanted to make the tower of Babel too. Stack fast and stack high. First sweat shirts and sweaters. Then pants, then t shirts. Then boxers and things of that nature. Give yourself a competitive bonus of eleven points if you secretly blow at your neighbors pile from the corner of your mouth. If someone’s pile falls, look over and calmly say “man climbs to greatness on the corpses of his enemies. Keep folding. Anything to reach the heavens. If you actually do reach heaven ask god why he wont just create nerds that make self cleaning sports jackets. Auto wash slacks. Clothes that clean up after themselves. Tell him he didn’t give his only begotten son so that you could spend the Sabbath day saying fuck you to quarter machines that give seventy-five cents on the dollar, or unplugging old lady's washers during the all important spin cycle.
Apologize for telling the single mother that her bastard children would have been better off playing with the discarded needles in the park on the corner rather than ask you if you had any videogames on your laptop.
Fifty three times.
Promise to spend Sundays doing more productive things, like worshipping him.
Don’t forget to cross your fingers. He may be the alpha and the omega, but he falls for this more often than you think.
Subtract thirty-three unnecessary inquiry points for wondering why the clothes, which fit in three bags now beg for four. They refuse to be transported in three. don’t rationalize it by saying “less dirt should mean less volume” or “They should take up less space! They’re folded! Just stuff them all in your bag, realize you wasted your time folding them in the first place, and Prepare for the re-lug.
Heft your newly cleaned laundry home over your weary shoulder. Its going to be wrinkled no matter what you do. Pay it no heed.
Walk outside. realize there is air in the world that doesn't smell like dryer. you’re now in the future now, so do mind the hover cars.
Go home. Navigate the stairs, cash in your points, and buy a nap.
you’ve earned it.