Monday, May 5, 2008

The Laundry Room

When I moved into my condo, I was so happy to have a stacked washer and dryer all to myself. No more dragging baskets of laundry downstairs to the laundry room! No more disappointment, finding that none of the machines are free! No more running into that crazy old lady who cornered me and talked endlessly about her medical problems!

But seriously, I kind of miss my old laundry room. For one thing, it was a place to meet my neighbours. I lived on the second floor of an 8-story building. There were lots of people around, but I rarely met any of them because I never bothered to wait for the old, slow elevator. Most people in the building got to know each other that way, through sharing elevator rides and waiting times. My only opportunity for socializing was in the laundry room. With the exception of the crazy old lady, I rather enjoyed those opportunities to chat.

The laundry room also served as an ongoing swap meet. Anyone who had stuff they didn't want anymore would leave it on the laundry room table for someone else to pick up. Over the years I gave away a lot of things that way, like my old vacuum cleaner and a slow but still-functional computer. The superintendent was an immigrant, and I have reason to believe that a lot of the stuff went to her even-more-newly-arrived friends, to help them get established. It was a good system.

But mostly what I miss from the laundry room was the supply of top-quality books. Someone in the building was either an avid reader or may have even worked in a position related to the publishing industry. I would regularly find heaps of expensive, brand-new hardcovers laid out on the table. To me, it was like a kid finding free candy. Just before we moved out, almost 2 years ago now, I found an extra-big stack of fabulous books. I've read all but one now. I'm saving it, because it'll be a sad day when all the laundry room books are gone.

16 comments:

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Computers and books on the laundry table?? Wow, I figured it would be an odd sock or some underwear with holes in it for the free table :)

Nilsa S. said...

You know what I miss from the old laundry room? Having 3 empty washers and 3 empty dryers, so I could get my laundry done in 90 minutes instead of 4 hours!

whatigotsofar said...

The shared apartment building laundry room; nowhere else in this world can you walk in on a woman riding a washing machine during the spin cycle and use that to strike up a conversation.

Tink said...

I miss the community laundry room too, if for nothing more than the fodder! If only I'd had a blog back then. :)

Tink said...
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Karen said...

My grandma does a book swap among her friends at her church. So I always give her the books I have read so that the go to a new reader. While I love books on my shelf, I like the concept of sharing better.

I haven't had a laundry room since college, but I agree with Nilsa that getting all done at once seems great.

jameil1922 said...

books!??! that's my fave thing about working in the newsroom! all the free books!!! oh man. it's been too long since the last free book!

Jenski said...

A laundry library? That's great! You should travel around the city putting the books in random laundry rooms to surprise the next reader. Except that last book. :)

Sparkling Red said...

Ron: There were "free socks" on offer now and then, but I never took advantage of that particular option.

Nilsa: Hey, did you live in my building? We also had 3 washers and 3 dryers. It was pretty cool being able to get 3 loads of laundry done simultaneously.

Whatigotsofar: You know, I ran into a lot of odd situations in the laundry room, but never that one. I think I might have just backed out on tiptoe...

Tink: For reals. Lacking for inspiration? Just go down to the laundry room and wait awhile. Something interesting is bound to happen.

Karen: I don't hang on to books much either. I usually give them to anyone who shows an interest, or they go in the charity box. My mom, on the other hand, has every book she ever bought in her whole life. I'm afraid her house is going to collapse under the weight!

Jameil: Free books are the best. I love living close to a giant lending library. I don't use it as much as I could, but I like knowing it's there.

Jenski: It would be kind of like a bookmobile, but more specialized. The Bookmo-Laundryroom-a-tronmobile. ;-)

ConverseMomma said...

Oooo, let's talk books. Seriously, I love to read and I'm always looking for some good title. I'm currently reading, His Illegal Self. Interesting!

Keera Ann Fox said...

I wish our laundry room was like that. It might get used more. Fewer and fewer are using it. The good news is I don't have to wait too long to get laundry done.

I get the finality of reading the last book in the pile. It's like severing a tie to something wonderful.

nicole said...

That kind of laundry room and the system sounds cool.
I only know my Mom's bitching about things not being the way she wants, even though she had her own machine. Now she has it in her apartment.

I love the books - yeah - would go for those too :)
(Will again, when meeting my friend next week, hehe - she works in a bookshop ;) )

And yeah, that give away system works pretty well here too :)

Sparkling Red said...

Conversemomma: I just Googled that title to see what it's all about. It looks intriguing. I love novels written from a child's perspective. I just finished Robert Clark's "Love Among the Ruins". Heavy stuff, but beautifully written.

Keera: There's definitely advantages to an underused laundry room. I used to get frustrated when I couldn't get my laundry done. There were lineups on the weekend. Sometimes I got up early on a Saturday and ran straight to the laundry room a minute after the door was to be unlocked - and someone would be there before me using all 3 machines. Grrrr!

Nicole: Your friend works in a bookshop? Lucky you! My mom used to, a long time ago. We still have books she got for free back then.

trinity67 said...

You had a nice laundry room - all's I find in mine are dustballs.

unsigned said...

Lint baby... Lint!

Aurora said...

I think Maxie suggested a blog-swap for books; I think it's a great idea.

Our laundry rooms were pretty impersonal at the last place but I do recall swapping some books there, anonymously... it's a neat phenomenon.