I really love my apartment. It has a great open feel to it, I can fit ALL of my bookshelves, and the windows are perfectly placed so my cat can stare out them all day long. One thing my apartment does not have is a washer/dryer hookup, so once a week I find myself heading down to the laundromat
Don’t get me wrong, most people that go to my laundromat are fine! They come in, do their laundry, and leave. And unlike my experience with college dormitories, most people here are pretty good at switching over their clothes on time too. But any space where people are forced to congregate against their will is likely to draw in some crazies as well. Here are a few that I have encountered in my stays.
The Blank Stares- My laundromat doesn’t want you to be bored. It has wi-fi, a TV that specializes in infomercials and The Price is Right, a stack of magazines, and a few donated books. I always bring a book to read (it would be a great time to get some writing done, but I don’t do well with distractions), and most people do a good job at keeping themselves entertained. Then are those who don’t do anything but stare. Some even stand directly in front of their washing machine, slack jawed and empty eyed, for the entire thirty minute cycle. It’s kind of unnerving, but until these mindless folks start craving brains, I don’t feel the need to hedge away from them.
The Over Sharers- Similar to the internet, there’s something about being in a big room filled with people you might never seen again that makes some want to share way too much. I’ve listened to everything from lengthy rants about lazy brothers, to people trying to recruit me to their political causes. Once, my friend Kim found herself subject to a very uncomfortable private reading from an overeager poet (fellow writers, never do this). I don’t mind chatting about the weather, upcoming holidays, or my awesome sock collection, but I prefer to get in, do my laundry, then get out.
The Seriously Messed Up- I kid you not, I once met a man with an eye patch who began a conversation with “They think I kidnapped this kid, you know.” Said man also needed a cane to walk, so I was pretty sure I could outrun him but YIKES! On a slightly less terrifying subject, there was one day when an elderly woman and I were subject to not one, but two bare buts. Now I’m not talking about someone bending over and showing a little plumber’s crack, but two dudes who didn’t feel like pulling up their pants (for those who may be concerned, these were clearly not special needs guys. Just lazy).
Going to the laundromat is far from the worst thing in the world (although all of those quarters do add up). but it does put you in some awfully strange situations. It’s also work mentioning that as I don’t work until the evenings on Monday, I do most of these trips on Monday mornings, when it’s quiet. I can only image how things would go if I did my laundry at a more popular time!