I feel like we just washed our sexy laundry in public.

I really, really, really don’t like doing laundry.

The fact of it is this: I never have. I don’t like any of it. I do not like sorting or loading the washer or determining how much of which product to use or dryer sheets or folding (especially folding) or, bizarrely, putting my clothes away.

Moving the loads from the washer to the dryer isn’t so bad. That’s an easy step.

When I was  growing up and living with my parents, of course, that was a moot point. I was paid an allowance, and part of what I did to earn it was keep my mom from having to deal with my clothes. So I did. It was not so bad given that we had a washer and dryer in the house, so I would wash everything once a week or so and more or less stay in clean clothes, save for the fact that everything smelled like cigarette smoke forever because one person in the house (who was not me or my brother or my stepdad) went through a couple packs a day without thought to any consequences.

As stated earlier, though: folding. Ugh. Even now, after discovering the ninja t-shirt fold, I just can’t. So back then, after the clothes came out of the dryer I would throw them in a pile somewhere. My bed, maybe, or a clean part of the floor when my room was actually picked up. Usually the bed.

Where they would stay.

As some of my friends can attest, I frequently slept on a layer of my own clean laundry. The dirty clothes went into the hamper, and I’d pick through the wrinkled mess on my bed in the morning. In retrospect that seems really weird, but at the time it was just a thing that happened.

After I moved out of my childhood house, things changed a little. I can’t for the life of me remember what I did for that first year out, when I was still living in Tulsa in an apartment. Did we have a washer there? Did I take my clothes back to my parents’ house for laundry? I hope someone can enlighten me.

What I do remember is taking on laundry duties when I moved to New York. I did all of it for both of us because I (probably rightly) felt like I owed something more than scraping up half the rent was actually worth. In that first apartment, we had laundry machines in the building, something I came to find is an uncommon luxury. This is where my distaste for doing the laundry really developed. It was such a time sink, and it was completely necessary. I don’t like things that I have to do. I prefer my life choices to be at least semi-optional. There is probably something to be read into that, some distaste for obligation or something, but whatever.

So I would tromp down from the fifth floor to the basement with our basket of laundry, often in the middle of the night so I could take up both washing machines without feeling like a jerk. I’d go upstairs for a while, come down and do the easy part, then go back up and down again to fold everything. It was not fun and it felt like it took forever.

But it was necessary. So I sucked it up most of the time and we kept clean.

When we moved out of that apartment, we got another seven blocks down and one and a half avenues over. That is not very far, unless you are an idiot that tries to move everything yourself without a vehicle. That was 37 straight hours of walking there and back again until everything about me was sore. And then needing to do laundry at the end of it.

I had noticed a laundry place around the corner from my new apartment in the course of walking past it a dozen times or so. Completely exhausted, I didn’t want to wash my own clothes, so I splurged and dropped everything off to be washed for me.

And my life was changed forever.

To this day, I will gladly pay the premium to have someone else wash my clothes, even if it is triple or more what it would cost me to do it myself. That is how much it means to me not to have to do my own washing.

I can also report that I no longer sleep a bed of my own clean laundry. Not that this means I actually put my clothes away like an adult, mind you; it’s just that when I get the clothes back from the laundromat, they’re tied up in handy plastic bags so that I can just live out of them for a while until it’s time to do laundry again.

This, I think, is the ultimate outcome of paying someone else to wash my clothes: all my loathing of the task has been shunted to the end of the process, so that I have no desire whatsoever to do that one last step, the one that would make my house look so much less messy. It’s such a horribly tragic flaw that I made putting my laundry away one of my New Year’s resolutions this year. So far the results have been mixed at best.

Yet if it’s bad now, I know it could be worse. Thank goodness I never lived in a time when I had to wash my clothes manually.

One comment

discuss