Spin Cycle

My college had co-ed dorms, in the sense that boys and girls (men and women?) lived on alternating floors and could come and go as they pleased. I snicker at myself, now, for finding that a bit outrĂ©, then. (And I am amazed again at the memory that even twenty years ago, the dorms at my former boyfriend’s college were so anti-coed that it was a punishable offense to enter the women’s dormitory if you were a man, and vice versa. It’s one of the reasons I chose not to go to his college, although we were still dating at the time – we’d never have gotten to see one another anyway.)

My sophomore year, to drone on to the point of this story, I lived in North Hall, which had men on the third floor and women on the first and second. There was exactly one washer/dryer set in the whole dorm, on the third floor. It was a nightmare, trying to catch the washer empty. One time, early in the semester, when I actually managed to put a load in, I came back thirty minutes later to find my wet clothes strewn all over the floor, with a note that said: “Keep your gosh-darned freaking girl panties out of the men’s washer!” (It didn’t really say “gosh-darned freaking”.) I was incensed, outraged, humiliated, angry, annoyed. I took the ridiculous note, cursing its ill-informed author (if the dorm had had a “women’s washer” I would’ve used it, doofus!) (I didn’t think “doofus”). I wrote an impassioned letter to the dean of students detailing the incident and making the case for the installation of additional washers and dryers in our hall. (I did not sign my name. This was the one burst of activism in my entire college career.) From then on, I took my girl panties (and everything else) to the Laundromat a few blocks from campus.

But how different things would have been, how happier a story I would have to tell, had I been starting college this fall. According to my alumni magazine – which comes once a quarter, and which I flip through with joy in my heart, because I just love finding out that This One Guy from my class has just gotten tenure, and This Other Girl is operating an orphanage in Tunisia, and That Goofy Guy from Introduction to Microeconomics is now mayor of a large Midwestern city, and That Girl I Always Hated runs marathons in her spare time – where was I? Oh yeah – according to the magazine, my college has installed a new fleet of digital-age washers and dryers across campus. There is a website! which you can log on to and check washer/dryer availability. You don’t need quarters! but simply swipe your meal card to pay for each load. You get a text message! on your phone when your load is done. I am gobsmacked by the wonderousness of these machines. It almost makes me want to go back to college.



aimee said...

I hated doing laundry in college. I don't remember much of it but I do think I went to my boyfriend's apartment to do some loads. That was nice. Good thing I married him. :)