Kate McCabe / Gavel Media

Diatribe: The Battle of Laundry Day

After searching tirelessly for a single pair of clean pants, even going so far as to contemplate wearing the ever-so-stylish knee-high socks and shorts, you finally come to the brutal realization that the time has come to do laundry.

The first item to consider is timing: on what day of the week should you storm into battle? The most convenient of all days is Sunday—it’s the start of the week, and you have nothing else to do. The only problem? Everyone else also has the bright idea to do laundry that day, so your efforts will be made a little more complicated.

As you lug your overstuffed laundry bag into the Walsh elevator that still reeks from the previous night’s events, you give a knowing nod to the other brave soldier carrying down their laundry. You stand in silence knowing perfectly well that you both are ready to elbow the other out of the way to get the first open machine as soon as the elevator doors open.

Upon entering the fluorescent-lit, hallowed halls of the laundry room, you look around panicked, searching for the flashing “1.75” that signifies an open washer (a number that seems to mock you considering how overpriced laundry is, especially on top of school tuition). No such luck. Your worst nightmare is coming true: all the washers are filled. You shed a tear as your head fills with the sweet memories of your mother doing your laundry at home.

Your freshman year Perspectives class never could've prepared you for the moral dilemma you now face: do you take out someone’s sopping wet laundry out so you can start your own? How long is customary to wait for them to take it out until you’re ethically in the clear to do so yourself? Where do you put their wet laundry? Of course, you can’t toss it on the dusty floor to snuggle with the rats, but what choice do you have? Do you put their laundry in a dryer, hoping to minimize the awkwardness if they walk in and catch you red-handed moving their clothes?

If you’ve personally been burned by someone’s carelessness with your laundry, you know this decision cannot be taken lightly. Thankfully, as you panic your way through the pro-con list of your options, a washer opens up. You reach in to pull out a stray grapefruit-sized hairball and place your clothes in, dousing them with enough soap to make you forget how disgusting the other items that have touched this washer probably are.

Twenty-eight thrilling minutes later you’re on to the next battle: drying. Considering that the drying cycles are much longer than the wash cycles, there are never enough dryers open and you are faced with the same age-old ethical question that you began your journey with. If you're lucky enough to get a dryer, odds are it won’t work properly. You will wait the 63 minutes (an odd amount of time if you ask me) and find that your clothes are still soaking wet. Filled with hope and a forgiving attitude, you give the dryer another shot and another $1.75 swipe. 63 minutes later: still wet.

Your eyes start to water, a fellow soldier pats your back and offers an encouraging “Maybe try again?” With only $2.00 left on your card, you swipe one last time. 63 minutes later: slightly damp—victory! You swing your moist towel around in the air and holler at your success. The laundry room erupts into cheers as you carry your laundry basket to the elevator.

Once in your room, you lay out your damp clothes, pointing the fans ever so carefully to establish a cross breeze. You sit down in the corner of your room—the only thing not covered in strewn clothing—and begin to smile. 'Til next time, Laundry Day.

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Macie Gettings