My washer and dryer are in Ozark, Alabama. I guess, technically, they’re no longer mine. A couple of weeks ago, my son and I delivered them to my mother-in-law so she can use them in her new apartment. It’s all part of the downsizing process in preparation to move to the Dominican Republic. But what happens in the interim when your clothes need to be washed?

Lee and I spent most of the afternoon at the Laundry Express in Temple Terrance. Truth be told, we’ve had our share of afternoons at the laundromat in the past. The reason is simple: our comforter does did not fit in our washing machine. With pets, we’ve had more than one occasion where the comforter needed to be washed.

This afternoon, we did wash our comforter, but we also took advantage of the situation and washed a couple of loads of laundry as well. It was not a bad experience – Laundry Express is actually quite nice with machines that are not coin operated but rather read a prepaid card for use – but it was a couple of hours that left me thinking how blessed the vast majority of us are simply for having conveniences like a washer and dryer at home.

When I was in college, I spent my entire Junior year without a washer and dryer. My girlfriend and I would trek once a week down to the laundromat and get our laundry done. It was no big deal because 1) it seemed everyone else was in the same situation I was in, and 2) as a college student, it was a great time to catch up on studying, etc.

As an adult, however, I can’t imagine this being part of my normal routine. Yet there I was, surrounded by other adults whose lives were in fact occupied by the normalcy of laundromat life. On a regular basis, these individuals need to carry their belongings to a very public venue and communalize what I consider to be a somewhat private chore.

BatWash

As I folded my clothes, I was overcome with a sense of self-consciousness. For me, there’s a certain amount of emotional intimacy that goes into the laundry process. Sure, shirts are shirts, and all socks basically look alike. But when you get into the arena of ‘unmentionables’, it can be a little awkward.

I had a reusable grocery store bag into which I rather quickly dumped all socks and skivvies as I pulled them out of the laundry basket. Keep in mind, my wife’s clothes were also in the mix, so I was driven to be as fast and discreet as possible when getting her items into the bag. However, unlike those of my wife, my undergarments do require folding. Okay, they don’t ‘require’ folding, but it’s my OCD preference to have them folded.

Rain Man

*TMI WARNING* I wear boxer briefs. The longer the legs on the briefs, the better. If there were such a thing as boxer capris, I’d buy them. I also have a particular way in which I fold my boxers (see GIF above). So I’m standing there, folding my undies, and I’m overcome by a feeling that everyone in the laundromat now has the ability to see, discuss, and critique my underwear preferences. As this terrifying thought cascaded over me, I peek up from my ever rapidly increasing folding process to see an older gentleman at the table across the way. He, too, was in the process of folding his skivvies, except he is a fan of tighty whities. “Poor guy,” I thought to myself.

I know this is all silly and I can poke fun at it now, but it does sadden me to think of the millions of people in our country for whom this experience is just part of life. Macro out to the rest of the world, and the privilege with which we live, having our Amanas and Maytags and Samsungs, is grossly amplified. And it serves to remind us of the gratitude we should express to God for the comforts and conveniences that make up our day.

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I find happiness in a nicely folded pile of laundry.

 

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