Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Laundry day

The worst day of them all - worse than a Monday, worse than Wednesday (my longest working day), worse than Boxing Day - can only be one, and it can be one only: laundry day.
I fucking hate it.
This hatred that I feel may well be completely unreasonable and wholly irrational, and I'm relatively sure that it's both of those very similar adjectives, but the heart feels what the heart feels. And when laundry day comes around, mine sinks.
Now, what you need to bear in mind is that I put it off for as long as humanly possible (this is made easier by the fact that I have around 100 pairs of pants, and innumerable t-shirts - and everything else, honestly, can wait), but it unavoidably rears its ugly head now and then. I generally admit defeat when all I have left in my drawer is the real fancy pants (the ones you don't want to waste on everyday shit) and my 'grundies', as J.G. so eloquently calls underwear which is on its last legs.
What you also need to bear in mind is that the experience of washing clothes is only this stressful because I have no washing machine to speak of...
Back in the days when I still lived in Nottingham, I never fully appreciated how blissful it was to be able to leisurely put on a half empty wash, or fling in your whites and, after a joyful interlude of living your life, vaguely remember them a few hours later, when you'd find them exactly where you left them. Those were the days.
Now? Not so much. 
What I'm talking about here is the experience of doing your laundry at the l a u n d e r e t t e.
This is not a halfhearted activity to be taken lightly. Far from it. This is half a day shit. I set my alarm for laundry day. On a good day (which is rare) it takes 2 hours. One hour and a half for washing, half an hour for drying. But there are few good laundry days.
Lets take yesterday for example. I set my alarm, packed all my clothes in a suitcase (yeah, what?), grabbed my colour catchers and washing detergent, and headed for the launderette, head held high. I manoeuvred my case around all the carefree Parisians breakfasting al fresco, and was relieved to find my launderette of choice half empty. This is generally my first issue: I don't like the idea of quite literally airing your dirty laundry in public. I think this stems back to one horrifying day when I was loading a machine in the South of France. I was fully concentrated on what I was doing, when I turned around to grab another handful of clothes, only to find that there was a very suspect elderly man touching one of my garments (an intimate one, lets say.) When he caught me looking at him, far from apologising or running away, pants in hand, he simply said, 'this is nice.'
Against my better judgement, I merely retaliated with an uncomfortable smile, and carried on with the task in hand. Since then, I've made sure to always pick the most isolated machine. When someone chooses the one next to mine, I'm thinking, 'fuck off, this is my turf!! Don't look at my Snoopy underwear!!' And other such thoughts.
So there's that.
But then something always goes fucking wrong anyway. I ruin at least two items of clothing per wash.
Yesterday was the turn of my black jeans. For whatever reason, they came out more grey than black, and I know for a fact that they'll never be the same again. Their glory days are over. I'm heartbroken.
The time before that my duvet cover ripped unrecognisably. Now my duvet hangs out the end, unprotected, and every time I see it it's a cruel reminder of my failure.
T-shirts shrink (lets just thank god that I'm partial to a crop top or two), socks disappear, and white items invariably come out with a distinct tinge of another colour.
I can't do laundry.
Amongst other problems, yesterday I opened the machine before it had completely finished wringing the water out, and I had to spend about €10 on the dryer. After I'd grumpily loaded the sopping wet clothes and towels into said thieving dryer, I turned to see that a homeless man had taken my seat and was using it as his lunch spot, where he was devouring an incredibly pungent hot dog. What's more, the man in question had no teeth. His jaw was mechanically working away at his meal, and I hadn't the stomach to linger around him for long. So I waited for half an hour on the step outside.
Don't even get me started on having to have the right fucking change... (Which I never do.) I've found a new age launderette these days, so I can go with whatever currency I fancy, and simply deal with a machine. But before I discovered this twenty-first century washing establishment I was tied to one where you had to pile coins into the actual washing machines. This was no mean feat. How often do you have €15 in change? (Yep, that's how much a regular laundry day sets me back. Now can you see why I put it off?) Jamais. I'm only paid in 50s (not very many.)
So I used to have to venture out to try and get change before the whole charade could even begin.
On one such day, I tried to get change by buying a takeaway coffee.
'Great idea, Silv!' I hear you thinking.
'Not so fast!' I think back.
I ordered my drink, took my drink off the side, and handed the man behind the till a 50, almost apologetically. He looked incredulous. He called his colleague over, and they both began gesticulating wildly. In an agitated state, they seemed to be complaining to one another about my thoughtless actions in a language I didn't understand. Which was rude in itself. But then the colleague took it upon himself to tell me exactly what he thought of me in a language I did understand.
He said, in no uncertain terms, that I should have told them beforehand that I was going to pay with a 50, and through tuts and sighs, told me that it wasn't right.
He 'tu'ed me, which is fucking rude anyway, and then threw his arms up in the air in complete disdain.
I ended up paying on card, after telling him to watch how he spoke to me, and I emerged onto the street with no change and a coffee I didn't even want.
I eventually got change by going into a supermarket, but once I got to the launderette, pockets jangling with coins, a man inside told me off for leaving the door open behind me. It all seemed too much at that point.
I fled from the scene and burst into hot, bitter tears on the street. Admittedly, not only did I overreact, but I was also a bit homesick that day, (and possibly slightly premenstrual - sorry to bend to the usually unfair stereotype) but either way, I took my dirty laundry back home and decided to tackle the mountainous challenge another day.

And that's all I have to say about laundry day.

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