Skip to main content

Davis Journal

Taken to the cleaners

Apr 08, 2022 09:33AM ● By Peri Kinder

Appliances are like Christmas lights. When one goes out, they all go out. We’ve spent the last couple of years replacing appliances, and not easy things like toasters or the electric carving knife. We’re talking a dishwasher, a dryer, a refrigerator, and now our washing machine.

I hated to tell my husband the bad news, not because of the expense but because I had to brace myself for the laundry puns. He has loads of them. But I threw in the towel and waited for his list to unfold.

“Well, sheet,” he started. “I spilled laundry soap and now my hands are Tide. I’d better come clean ‘cause I’m in a lot of hot water. I’m all washed up. Oh, the irony!”

Once that was done, I had to decide the best way to clean our clothes until the new washer was delivered. Options were 1) go to a laundromat, 2) drive to Utah Lake where I could wash my clothes against a rock until developers make Utah Fantasy Island, or 3) say, “Alexa, do the laundry.”

The laundromat won. It’s been years since I’ve visited a laundromat. I bought a chai tea latte to sip, packed a book to read whilst waiting for clothes to dry, and a notebook to write pithy thoughts.

My first impression of the laundromat was the warmth from the dryers and the smell of fabric softener was so cozy. This will be joyous, I thought. Maybe I’ve found my new community. Things went downhill quickly.

While inserting 19 quarters (!!) into the machine, I shoved clothes into the washer and noticed my tea had spilled all over the laundry basket. I grabbed my tea, closed the washer door, and sliced my finger open, leaving bloody fingerprints on the handle.

Trying not to think about what types of bacteria live on the handle of a laundromat washing machine, I considered leaving the blood there so the next person would wonder if a serial killer had washed his T-shirts. But I used a damp, tea-soaked towel to wipe it up and looked for a place to sit.

Making my way to a row of stiff, plastic chairs, I sat down to enjoy the lukewarm remains of my tea. I opened my book and looked around the room where people sat staring at cell phones. No one made eye contact. 

I leaned toward the young man next to me, “Do you come here often?” I whispered, like a crazy lady. It sounded like a bad pick-up line at a laundry-themed bar. He shifted his body away from me and continued Tik Toking. My finger dripped blood on the floor.

My brain conjured a Broadway musical set in a laundromat. It could have country-western songs, cowboy boots, and line dancing on the machines. It would be called “Bleach, please.” I Googled “Broadway laundromat” on my phone. There it was: “Honky Tonk Laundry.” Well, I tried. 

I moved clothes from the washer to the dryer (another eight quarters!) and sat mesmerized as my clothes flailed through the hot air, like a wacky inflatable man at a car dealership. Then, time was up. I took my still-damp clothes and waved farewell to my new friends, eyes locked on their screens. 

I returned home to find my husband pacing and muttering. “I’m so agitated. You just wring me out. Am I bleaching to the choir? Can we have soap-a-pillas for dinner?”

Now that our new washer is connected, we’re as happy as two peas in a Tide pod. I’ll let myself out.