Folks, I did a bad thing last year. And I’ve owned up to it to only a few close friends ‘ it’s not something I’m proud of.
I was doing laundry one afternoon in Newing College’s Delaware Hall, when I realized there would be no open dryers when my laundry finished washing. With two minutes left on my wash, I went to the laundry room down the hall, whereupon I found an empty dryer.
I opened it a crack, ran back to my finished wash and ran all my damp clothes to the empty dryer ‘ only to discover that someone had taken the dryer in the minute I had been gone.
Here I was at an ethical crossroads. Obviously, this person did not know I was coming to take this dryer, our timing just happened to be quite unfortunate. For me.
I opened the dryer, just a crack. I didn’t take their clothes out and put mine in. I just ensured that when they came back in an hour’s time, their clothes would not be dry, but would have just been sitting in a non-running dryer for 60 minutes.
My friends refused to let me hear the end of it. They dubbed me the ‘Laundry Nazi’ and probably preferred me to wear dirty clothing, rather than screw over another poor schlub in the laundry room.
And I took some sort of sick pride in it. The power of anonymously screwing over someone who had screwed me over, however inadvertent it was on his or her part, was strangely satisfying. I was the bad boy of the laundry room, and it was a title I sat well with. I hadn’t ever been the bad boy of anything before.
I’m not a bad person, though. I just have some bad tendencies, and this was one of them. The more time went by, the worse I felt.
As a matter of fact, putting this story on paper has made me feel as grimy as ever over my stunt.
Last week, however, I may have finally relinquished the moniker ‘Laundry Nazi’ forever.
Here in my apartment in Hillside Community, there is one washer and one dryer for all the residents, about 30 of us. I went to the laundry room with approximately three loads of laundry and found the washer occupied with roughly 10 minutes left.
No matter, I came back in 10 minutes, peacefully placed this man’s clothes on top of the washer and put mine in; standard college laundry room procedure.
I came back in 40 minutes to put my second load in and transfer my first to the dryer. He still had not claimed his clothes.
I came back again just before my first load had finished drying (having put my second load on top of the washer as the dryer takes 20 minutes longer) when this mystery man walked in. He asked if it was my clothes in the dryer and implied he was going to put his clothes in next.
It took every fiber of my moral being to not begrudge or tell him that the other load on top of the washer was mine, waiting to be dried. I let him use the dryer first, even though he had been treading the fine line of laundry etiquette with laundry ignorance.
Did my laundry take an extra hour to do, tacked on to the already inordinately long four-hour process? Indeed it did. Am I proud that I wasted my entire Wednesday afternoon worrying about this? Absolutely not.
But in the vain of good karma seekers everywhere, I may have finally gotten the laundry gods back on my side.
The laundry room is a place for cleanliness, in clothing and people alike. As you clean your clothes, don’t let your tactics get dirty.