My apartment complex has proven itself notorious for its murderous laundry facility. Its means of killing clothes are creative and sick. My clothes have drowned to death, even after paying for them to go through the dryer 4 times in a row. My clothes have been shrunk to death. And even on occasion, they bleed to death, all over the other survivors in the tank. On very few occasions do I leave without my favorite outfit being massacred.
But my most recent laundry experience topped them all.
After coming back from my 3 week adventure across the US, Clint and I had our work cut out for us in the area of dirty laundry. We put it off for a few days, validating our laziness with the need to “relax” after our… vacation. But when it became a very real fear that Clint may or may not be wearing the same pair of boxers as yesterday, I decided it was time to tackle the 5 load laundry mass head on.
After the first load, we realize that the machine that Clint chose doesn’t work at all, which was disappointing since we only had enough quarters for the loads that we had brought. We throw the other clean clothes into the dryers, and go out looking for a store to give us quarters to take care of Clint’s lone dirty batch. When we return, after harassing a video store girl into giving us the entire roll of quarters she had, we find that Clint’s favorite pair of tennis shoes he was washing were stolen out of the washing machine in our absence. A fury rises in me, to a level that is even surprising to myself. A random on-looker would have assumed it was my pair of shoes that had been stolen. I just couldn’t believe it. Who steals someone’s shoes from a public washing machine? As I begin to illustrate up some sentencing phrase in my head that I could condemningly scribble on a piece of paper to hang up in the laundry room in hopes that the pilfer would be successfully consumed by guilt, Clinton calmly states.. “Well I hope they needed them more than I did”. I’m going to be on the lookout for this guy who freaking…. wait…. “What? That’s it? Someone stole your favorite shoes and that’s all you have to say?” “Ya, I mean.. its sucks. But there are far worse things that have happened to people today. I’m really blessed.” I’m secretly wishing that he would just conspire revenge along side of me, but I’m so humbled by his response. Wow, we really are so blessed. Once again, my husband brings me back down to earth, and I lose my fiery disposition and stand in awe of his calmness, as he continues to put more quarters into the dryer (since our clothes didn’t dry the first time around). I take a mental note that I need to be more like this. I need to be able to blow off the bad things that happen with a sense that life is good enough to off-set the crappy parts. As we head back inside, I remember an article I had read earlier that day in a book store about all the different things you can do to make your home more “germ-free”. While I would never consider myself a germaphobe, by any stretch of the imagination, I am weirdly obsessed and creeped out by any time of mold/mildew. I will double dip, share a toothbrush with just about anyone, and make food on a dirty counter, but for some reason the prospect that I might be getting sick by old food, or secret mold circulating through the air vents makes me shutter. So, in this article, when I read that one of the biggest causes of allergens and sickness come from the skin mites that collect inside of your comforters, I about ran home right home with a bottle of disinfectant. The solution, the magazine explained, was merely throwing your comforter into the dryer, and it would be hot enough to kill all of these little allergen causing monsters. So, wanting to keep the several hundred dollar bedding that I had been saving up for most of my married life for (and lusting after for about 4 years straight before that) nice and germ free, I carry it down to the dryer, and throw it in. When we go back to collect all of the (hopefully) dry apparel, I pull out my comforter. I am hit with the smell of burnt linen. I look down at my most treasured possession that is now scorched brown and smells like a camp fire. I immediately start crying and continue crying all the way back to the apartment, with my newest laundry mat murder victim- burnt to death. Clint looks at me, unsure how to handle this female reaction to burnt bedding, and genuinely attempts at a a comforting response of “Ya, it really does smell kinda funny.” As I dive into self pitty that something that I had saved for so long for and invested in had just gone up in smoke, I am hit with my commitment of just an hour earlier that I was going to try to face misfortune with grace. But… NOT MY ANTHROPOLOGIE COMFORTER! The bounds of that commitment didn’t cover the demolition of something so dear to me. But it does. Does it really matter that my bedding is burnt? Well… okay…yes. But how blessed am I that I am healthy, in an amazing city, with a wonderful husband and caring friends, have the money to eat and go to school… and have burnt blankets? As the night went on, we started laughing about how terrible our laundry mat really is, and how dramatically ridiculous our story of the day was… continually deeming the date as “the worst laundry day.. EVER.” In the middle of giggles that we were going to hunt down any guy that might be walking around in a pair of stolen Merrels, I was happy to realize how little the “traumatic” events of the day really mattered. My quality of life is measured by my experiences and the people I love… not the material things that will come in and out of my life. I learned, from Clint’s forgiving grace of a thief, that life is so much better when you have the ability to laugh at burnt laundry.