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Laundry Adventures

Veena Thomas

It was a Thursday night, and I was going home on Friday afternoon. I took the bus for the first time, which means that I couldn't bring home everything I wanted to.

Usually I bring home all of my laundry that needs to be done, and then enough clothes to last me for three days. This of course leaves me with way too many clothes. Finally, my mom asked me, "Can't you just do your laundry at school?" Yes, I can. And I did.

10:30 p.m.: I should have started my laundry earlier. But it shouldn't take very long; after all, laundry is easy, right? The washers have a 26 minute cycle, and the dryers can run for 51 or 68 minutes, so doing my laundry should only take an hour and a half. I can finish by midnight, and be in bed shortly after that. That's not bad at all.

10:45 p.m.: I haven't even left my room yet. Not all of my clothes made it into the laundry bag; somehow a lot ended up scattered on the floor of my closet. I guess I threw them there when I got lazy. I need to gather those. Now I need laundry soap. I open my drawer and find two containers of laundry soap, both of them almost empty. I guess that towards the end of the first container, I thought I would run out of soap and I bought a new one, but never bothered to finish the first container. I can easily see myself doing this with a third container, and a fourth, until I have a whole drawer full of laundry soap containers, none of which are quite empty.

11:00 p.m.: I drag my laundry bag down the hallway. It's so heavy that I can't even lift it. People on my hall have seen this sight before, and a friend of mine always remarks, "Have you got your laundry bag, or has it got you?" But he's nowhere to be seen now. So I go to his room and write on his message board, "Help! My laundry's got me!"

11:05 p.m.: The laundry room is surprisingly busy; I thought that no one did laundry on Thursday nights. I run into three people from my floor. Some floors see each other at study breaks, we socialize in the laundry room. I soon discover the reason the room is so busy: some guy (not from my floor) has been using 6 washers. He says he hasn't done his laundry in five weeks. Five weeks? He must have a lot of socks.

11:15 p.m.: I dump my laundry in two washers, swipe my card through to pay, and I leave uneventfully. A wash cycle is 26 minutes long, so I should return at 11:41. Maybe doing laundry is easy after all.

11:25 p.m.: I realize that I haven't told Mom and Dad what my plans are and when I'm getting home.

11:41 p.m.: I'm still on the phone with my family. I can't cut them off to tell them that my laundry is done! Besides, my laundry can wait. It's not going anywhere.

12:00 a.m.: I go back to the laundry room to put my clothes in the dryer. I try to remember which clothes should not be put in the dryer, and put the rest in. I buy 68 minutes of drying time for each dryer. However, when I attempt to start one of the dryers, only 20 minutes register. Frustrated, I hit the "Whites and Colors" button repeatedly. Great, now it says 80 minutes. My clothes are going to be tiny. I must remember to return before the dryer stops so I can take out my clothes before it is too late.

12:10 a.m.: I return to my room. On my message board is the note from my friend: "A word of advice: NEVER turn your back on a laundry bag!"

12:30 a.m.: I need to talk to my sister, so I turn on AOL Instant Messenger, block off everyone else, and start chatting. My best friend IMs her and she tells him that I'm on, but blocked. He wants to talk to me, so I unblock him.

1:45 a.m.: Where did the time go? My sister has gone to bed, and my friend and I are both falling asleep at our computers. I suddenly remember my laundry. The dryer cycle is complete now, all 80 minutes of it. I sign off AOL IM and head downstairs, expecting the worst.

1:50 a.m.: Well, the shirt that I wanted to shrink has shrunk, along with the clothes I didn't want to shrink. At least I'm done with the laundry.

Wasn't I supposed to be done by midnight? What happened? How did I get two hours behind schedule?

I think I can answer my friend's question now: I don't have my laundry; it has me.