Friday, March 4, 2011

Love at the Laundromat

E.B. White said, “We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry,” and although I once would have found it difficult to believe that laundry could bring anyone joy, I find myself converted. 

Adam & I have determined that the washer and dryer in the basement of our apartment building are notorious coin thieves. With these monsters constantly eating our quarters, or in need of repair, trying to do our laundry in the building had become an exercise in futility. So we ventured out into North Pole in search of a remedy and found one in Forbes Laundry. (Which, interestingly, is also called a 'washeteria'.) We bag up our laundry & detergent and truck ourselves over there for, what has turned out to be, one of our favorite afternoons/evenings - Laundry Day.

Adam loves his Pad Prik King!
It's not that we enjoy folding clothes or watching the large glass front commercial dryers, it's that this simple ritual has become associated with so much...more. Laundry night means that we also stop by the Thai Cuisine restaurant for an order of Pad Prik King and Pad Thai. We sit in one of the booths at Forbes while our laundry whirls and eat our tasty dinners. Then out come the card games, Cribbage or Milles Bornes. The time passes so quickly, I've almost begun to wish we had more laundry!

While Adam was away this past month, he even wrote to me that he particularly missed this little tradition of ours. In fact, it was one of the first things on our agenda when he returned. It brought us back to 'normal', as though we pushed a 'reset' button and all was right with the world. The hum of the washing machines, the smell of detergent, the taste of Thai, the warmth of the building buzzing with activity - adds up to more than the sum of its parts. And I've begun to notice other peoples' little rituals there  - the couple doing their bills, the woman talking to her daughter on the phone, the family eating pizzas - and it comforts me. 

Next month we'll be moving into a house that has a washer & dryer of our very own and I know that the laundromat is an expense we'll be able to forgo...but I'll miss it. And I wonder if, from time to time, it wouldn't really hurt to take one little load over to Forbes - just for the fun of it.