10.1.2002 How to be a Laundro-Ninja
I can never remember which one it was--biweekly or bimonthly--meaning twice a month or every other week. I believe it was bimonthly, but I got this from the same teacher during High School that once told me that extrasensory perception was just realizing people's habitual behaviors. I figure she was just an untapped genius, or really one who needs a Prozac the size of a softball. You choose.
Anyhow, Elizabeth and I have been having this ongoing debate of whether we needed to do laundry every week, or my argument, biweekly, or every other week. (Yes, I just chose biweekly after looking it up—apparently, that teacher wasn’t that correct). Of course this all depends on how much clothes a person owns, how fast they go through them, and how much one enjoys being at the Laundromat.
Myself, I don't particularly like spending time there, fighting with others over washers and dryers every week. On the other hand, I think I would hate being one of those who waltzes in with fifteen loads lurched over my back, ready to do battle with the crowd. I think it just boils down to me not liking Laundromats. I'm not sure about anyone else, but as soon as I walk into one, my mind jots out a game plan enabling me to get the hell out of there quickly as possible. But that's just me. Well, everything else is just an annoyance.
There's the lady using the dryer as her holding bin, pulling out her articles of clothing piece by piece folding each one, and placing it neatly in her carriage before retrieving the next piece. There are the toddlers running around freakishly tripping people atop their parents' shrieking yells. And there is always one of these-never fails being in a Laundromat in Brooklyn-some middle-aged man flashing a fifty-dollar bill around asking for change with a big-ass grin. That's the grin that says, 'I usually don't come to the coin-op laundry. It's just that my machine at home is broken. Whadayamean you guys don't have change for a fifty? What kind of place is this? Where am I?'
'You're in hell!' I yell out, 'Look around Mr. big-ass grin man. Look around!' Okay, so I really didn’t physically yell out. I want to though. I really do.
As much as I hate it here, I think at this point, I’m more or less a master of this domain. I really am. Let me tell you exactly how this goes down. Before making your trip to laundry heaven, divide up your clothes in neat coordinated bundles. listen closely. When you arrive into the place, look for four things—the dryers, the washers, the carts, and people—yes, in that order of precedence. Choose the closest washers you can find to the dryers. Do not worry if the dryers are mostly occupied at this point. The picture changes every half hour. Okay. Shove the first load into the closest washer and start its cycle. Just let it go before continuing with the other loads—there’s good reason. As that is going, start the other loads on their wash cycles.
For the next twenty minutes, you should be observant of the environment, the people, their behaviors, reactions, what they like, what they don’t like. As the first wash cycle comes to a near end—specifically two minutes, scout out a group of dryers that no one else you may be suspect of using. Grab a cart and prepare for transport. You will have fifteen seconds. Once the washer is done, empty out the clothes into the cart, roll toward the group of vacant washers, and place two articles of clothing in each dryer that you would like to occupy, and place the rest of the load in the last dryer. This is known as the Reservation—very important.
Trust me on this one—start the dryers with their cycles; each with two articles of clothing and of course, the full load. At this point, you may be receiving stares of frustration. Avoid making eye contact—remember, they are just jealous, for you my friend, are a Laundro-Ninja. Retrieve each of the other loads from their washers and proceed to place them into the dryers that you reserved. Wait thirty minutes, remove your clothes from the machines, fluff and fold if you like, you’re done!
Okay. Don’t let anyone know I let you behind the curtain.