The Wash

Today is washing day in the Widdershins household. And as we live in a goodly sized apartment building with a small laundry room (the building isn’t of this century) if I don’t time it right, the queue can be frustrating.

Working for myself usually means that my schedule is flexible, but some days it ain’t! Today was somewhere in between.

There are unwritten laws about large tenant population/small laundry that you only learn as your total loads of wash reach double digits, usually within the first six months of moving in.

I never lived in an apartment building before I came here (to Vancouver) so my learning curve was a steep one all round. There’s the land-line phone buzzer thing-y so your guests can get past the first gatekeeper, two front door keys, plus a storage locker key, a laundry key which is also one of the front door keys, the mail-box key, six flights of stairs (there’s also an elevator) …my list goes on and on and on … but I’ll stop now.

Right. Back to the laundry. I was first in this morning and I’m usually quite prompt in scooting down to the laundry room in time to move my wet washing in to the dryers just about as soon as the washing machine is done.

So, I scooted promptly but some nefarious person had already taken my wet washing out and put hers in. I knew it was a ‘her’ because just as I turned the corner of the basement corridor to our laundry room, she was exiting at the other end.

I was indignant. I saw her in my minds eye, poised over my washing waiting, with carefully measured amount of washing detergent in one hand and her smalls in the other. (‘smalls’? – an English colloquialism – look it up) Waiting like a spider in the middle of her treacherous web, for the spin cycle to stop.

It wasn’t until quite a while later that I realised I would’ve done the same thing if I’d needed to do a load of wash and the machine was full – laundry etiquette.

My righteous indignation was due to two things. One – I had promptly got back to my wash, not like some people whose wet washing is piled up in the sink for days – not a pretty sight, or smell for that matter. And two – someone else laid their hands on MY washing!!! – Oh the horror of it all!

So I laughed at myself and made sure I was right there when the dryer cycle ended!

Isn’t ‘ownership’ a funny thing?


“Love does not cause suffering. What causes it is the sense of ownership, which is love’s opposite” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery (Author of The Little Prince’)

P.S. Still haven’t decided on which new theme I might try … you might’ve noticed that! 🙂 



12 comments on “The Wash

  1. cat says:

    I am reminded of my days of living in a university hall of residence – where the problem was precisely the same!


  2. spbowers says:

    Wow, you brought back a lot of repressed memories and made me very happy I now live in a place with my own washer and dryer.


  3. londonmabel says:

    For one small period of time my roommate and I lived right next to the laundry room and it was heaven. Now my husband and I have an apartment with attachments for them, and my parents gave us their washer and dryer when they moved and heavens I couldn’t go back. It spoils you like nothing else. I won’t even go on about it cause it could sever our e-friendship.


  4. The first time I moved into a house after years and years of apartment buildings was the fact that I went straight from the front door to the car with the loads of laundry. Only three steps to climb up and down. Today, I am totally spoiled. No more laundromats. Still stairs but then that’s my daily exercise of getting up and down.


  5. I recall Saturday mornings spent at the laundromat in Auckland where I would settle in with a stack of New Zealand Women’s Weekly magazines. It was my time to catch up on celebrity gossip while I waited.

    Semi-public laundry does pose its challenges: there is that sense of invaded privacy when someone pulls your wet things out of the machine. As you point out, sometimes it’s got to be done because that’s the way of communal living.

    I was glad to eventually get my own washer and dryer and not have to lug my baskets of dirty laundry out of the house into a public space. But I sure missed my weekly catch-up on celebrity goings-on.


    • Widdershins says:

      I remember the Australian Women’s Weekly’s very fondly … but these days I get my only hit of what I fondly call ‘trashy magazines’ at my hairdressers. Unfortunately I can only get through one, maybe one and a half, before I send them scuttling back to the pile on the coffee table. Reality shows have been the death of good celebrity gossip magazines!


  6. jannatwrites says:

    It’s been years, but I still remember how much I disliked apartment laundry facilities. I’d sit in the room and do homework or read so I could get my laundry before someone else did. No way I was going to let someone get their hands on my “smalls” 🙂

    People are strange creatures, that’s for sure…


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