My apartment complex has a sad, pathetic excuse for a laundromat in the form of two washers and two dryers. Thankfully, since there are only two of us in my household, we don't generally need to do laundry that often. (Seriously, all these "one load of laundry a day" posts on Pinterest crack me up.)
Because the laundry room is so small, people don't really use it. I assume most people either have their own washers and dryers or go to a real laundromat to attend to their laundry needs. Because people don't use the laundry room very often, I have never, in my year and six months at this apartment complex, encountered anyone else in it.
What a luxury that was.
After that bit of background information, and before I get to the point of this post, I need to give you another tidbit of background information.
I lived in a dorm for five semesters total. This obviously meant sharing a large laundry room with the rest of my building. I learned many things at college, but one of the most important things was this: Never leave your clothes unattended in a laundry room.
Sometimes, in the dorm, all the washers or dryers were full. At that point, you have a decision to make. Based on factors such as how many minutes are left on the machine, how many items of clean clothing you have left in your room and what time you were supposed to meet your friends at the library (or bar), was it worth waiting for the washer or dryer?
Sometimes it wasn't, and I would try my luck the next day. Sometimes it was, and I would settle into a chair, my dirty clothes in the hamper beside me, and watch as the numbers ticked down closer to zero.
And sometimes, oh sometimes, the machine's cycle ended and nobody came to claim their clothes. When this happened, these people were public enemy number one to me. When they finally skulked down from their dorm rooms to collect the disgusting rags they passed off as clothing, I'm surprised the looks I gave them didn't melt their out-of-style sneakers to the floor.
And I will tell you this: lesser people have and consistently do take unattended clothing out of the washer or dryer and dump it on the floor or on a nearby table. I have never done this, but it has been done.
All this is to say: I don't like when people leave their clothes unattended in the laundromat, and also, I absolutely always stay with my clothes while they're being washed.
So today, I went to do laundry in the tiny laundry room and saw that there was a woman taking her clothes out of both of the washers and putting them into both of the dryers. Cool. This does mean I'll have to wait a few minutes for the dryer, since the wash cycle is shorter, but it's not a huge deal. She initiates some conversation, so I oblige, and then she says, "Oops, I forgot my change for the second dryer, I'll have to go get it."
She promptly leaves. At this point, there are 45 minutes on the top dryer, and the bottom dryer is waiting for extra change to even begin. Now, if I had been smart about this, I would have gone on and loaned her the $1.50 and she could have paid me back when she came to get her clothes out. I was not smart.
She didn't come back until 15 minutes later, when the top dryer had 30 minutes left. She started the bottom dryer and went to leave again, but stopped and turned toward me.
"Wow, I've never actually stayed with my clothes while they were washing."
I responded, "Living in a dorm taught me to always stay with them."
She looked confused and asked, "What do you mean?"
I answered, "Well, it's not uncommon for people to dump other people's clothes if they don't come back right on time, since it's so annoying to have to just sit and wait. So I always want to be prompt."
"Oh, my! I can't imagine! I would be pretty furious if someone touched my clothes!"
And then she left.
And this woman, knowing that the top dryer only had about 29 minutes left, and also knowing that I was sitting there waiting for the dryer, did not come back until the bottom dryer was done -- a full 16 minutes after the top one.
She walked in the door, noticed they were both done, and said, "Oh, I hope they just got finished, I didn't want you to have to wait!"
I answered, "Well, the top one's been done for 16 minutes."
"Oh dear, I must have lost track of the time."
Let me stop you right there. You didn't lose track of the time, which is why you came back directly after the bottom dryer stopped. You didn't want to make two trips and you didn't want to sit in the laundry room for fifteen minutes, so you just waited, in turn making me wait also.
Thanks a lot, and I hate you.