After almost a week of no power following the October storm, the big issue was no longer the lack of heat or lights. It was the lack of clean clothes. I realized the time had come to suck it up and go to the laundromat.
Since we are fortunate to own a washer and dryer, I have not had cause to visit our local laundromat ever before. The laundromat is actually a great place to go when you have ten loads of laundry to do because if you are lucky enough to be able to commandeer several machines, you can knock out all your laundry in one fell swoop. However, the laundromat is NOT a great place to be if, for whatever reason, you are looking for some privacy.
Now, I’m used to encountering my neighbors at the local drug store and having to endure their comments and suggestions about my family’s various pharmaceutical needs. This is not such a big deal when you are shopping for shampoo. It’s another story when you are choosing a treatment for a yeast infection. I have also had people comment on my groceries at the supermarket checkout line and chastise me for buying too much junk for my kids. But neither of those compare with the busybodies at the Laundromat.
“Did you or your husband go to Penn State?” asked an older woman at the machine next to me as I sorted my darks and lights.
“Um, Yeah,” I said hesitantly. “Why?”
“Oh, no reason. I just saw you put a couple of Penn State sweatshirts in the machine,” she said happily.
I nodded and went back to sorting.
“Does your son play lacrosse?” she suddenly asked. I realized I had my hand on his high school lacrosse t-shirt.
“Yup,” I said succinctly, trying to curtail the conversation. It wasn’t that I was against chatting with my laundry neighbors. It’s just that I had been living in a cold, dark, powerless house for 6 days and I was short on patience and not in the mood for light laundry banter. Still, I didn’t want to be rude and who knew if the lady was lonely and just wanted to make some contact with another human being. I figured I could make a small attempt.
“No power at your place, too?’ I remarked.
“Oh no, we have power,” she said merrily, and then glanced down at the next item in my hands. “Looks like your husband is a boxers man, huh?” she snickered. “You son, too?”
I raised my eyebrows. Light banter was one thing. Analyzing my family’s underthings, quite another. I really wanted to end this conversation and decided there is only one thing to do when trapped by a clothing commenter at the laundromat:
You air all your dirty laundry.
“Yes, they both do!” I exclaimed. “And I wear thong underwear and push-up bras,” I said holding up my bra and underwear before tossing them into the machine. “Although sometimes I just like to be comfortable and wear some old granny panties, you know?”
Now it was her turn to raise her eyebrows. She got very quiet and bent down over her own laundry basket. I suspected that she had decided the conversation was a little too risque for her liking. As I turned my attention back to my sorting, I suddenly got a tap on my arm. I looked up to see my laundry neighbor holding a pair of her underwear up for me to see.
She grinned sheepishly. “I wear thong underwear, too!!”