Washing my clothes in New York City is a special kind of torture. I’ve seen what Hell looks like, and it’s the roach-infested basement laundry room of a Manhattan apartment building with one working washer that charges upwards of five dollars a load. Those who don’t have laundry in their building and who must schlep their duds on foot to seedy corner laundromats will scoff at my complaints and write them off as the whitest of white people problems. But hey, at least we can all agree that people who have a washer and dryer inside their apartment unit are the real yuppie scum, right? Here are some reasons and situations that lead me to believe I’m better off just throwing out my dirty clothes and buying new ones every week instead of trying to wash them:
1. When I wash all of my clothes only to realize the dryer is broken.
Hey, don’t worry about putting an “Out of Order” sign on it, landlord, you fucking maniac. I’ll just fish out all of my sopping wet clothes and traipse them through the building back up to my apartment like a savage. Oh no, I totally have enough space in my sarcophagus-like closet of an apartment to let that shit drip dry. Or better yet, I’ll hang ‘em up outside on the old clothesline, as if this were 1933 and I was a Hungarian immigrant.
2. When I put all of my clothes into the washer and add detergent, only to realize the washer is broken.
A fun twist on an old classic (see #1), this soul-crushing situation presents a far worse problem. Not only are my clothes still dirty, but they are now covered in soap and I have no way of washing it out. Yeah, I could rinse them out in the bathtub, but have you any idea how dirty my bathtub is? It’s got more rings than Saturn and is just as inhospitable to human life, let alone clean clothes.
3. When someone leaves food, garbage or some other vile thing in the washer.
It’s not that hard to check your pockets before dropping your pants into the washer, and why you had a full pack of Sour Patch kids in them is beyond me. Yeah, it’s not as bad as when someone would take a dump in one of the washers in the dorms back in college, but my parents don’t pay for my clothes anymore — I do.
4. Having to horde massive amounts of quarters.
Like everything in New York City, doing laundry is expensive, so I forever stay hoarding quarters. It’s like saving up to play the slot machines in Vegas but the only prize you get is clean socks and two hours of work you’ll never get back. And why do washing machines only take quarters? I’ve got dollars upon dollars worth of pennies, nickels and dimes, but they’re worthless to me. Slot machines take all kinds of coins, and so did payphones back in the day. What the fuck is the holdup on bringing all-inclusive coin technology to washing machines?
5. When the dryer doesn’t actually dry my clothes the first time.
Again, this is all part of the money-grubbing pyramid scheme that is the New York laundry industry. I’m convinced every dryer in the five boroughs is rigged to run at 50% power so that us suckers keep paying to add more time so that our clothes fully dry. No wonder why that Maytag repairman was always bored and sitting on his ass — he was being paid off by “Big Laundry” not to fix the machines.
6. The 30 seconds of sheer fucking panic as I take someone else’s clothes out of the dryer to put mine in.
The cardinal sin of doing laundry in a New York City apartment building is not being there to remove your stuff at the exact second the machine buzzes. It’s incredible how quickly my mindset goes from “fuck this person” to “oh my God, oh my God, oh my God” as I shovel their most personal items of clothing onto the top of the dryer. All I need is for the woman whose stuff it is to walk in just as I’m picking her warm, pristine undergarments out of the machine with my greasy hands. Sure, that’s the way some porno movies start, but I’m sure that’s the way some sexual assault cases on Law & Order: SVU start too.
7. The defeat I feel when I give up and drop my laundry off for wash/dry service.
Ten dollars a pound is pretty reasonable for Manhattan…right?