April 5, 2013

I Fought the Laundry and the Laundry Won

            It always seems that I have my worst days when it rains.
The marina where I live has a washer and dryer available for use by the “live-aboards” (those of us who live on our boats – about twenty of us, in all).  However, the washer has been absent ever since the weather got cold enough to worry about pipes freezing.  Typically, they hook it up again at the end of March, but here it is, already April, and still no washer.
My laundry is mounting up, and things are getting ugly.  There have been murmured threats, on the parts of both the socks and the underwear, of plans to attack me in the night if I don’t get them clean pretty soon.  You see, rather than go to an area Laundromat, and have to put up with the screaming kids and the machines that you pay to chew your clothes to ribbons or burn them to unrecognizable ashes, I had just been buying new socks and underwear when I ran out of clean ones.  I learned this trick from a confirmed bachelor, and it was working out pretty well for me.  However, I now had 68 pairs of dirty underwear, and a similar complement of socks, and the natives were getting restless. I was worried enough to began locking my cabin door after nightfall.
Then, lo and behold, this morning I drove by the laundry area and the washer was back!  This caused me to hum merrily on my drive to the office, and to greet my office neighbors with such bonhomie that they were certain I had purchased yet another strange animal, pet addict that I am.  I ended each phone conversation with, “Have a sparkling day!”  I joked with my boss at the water cooler.  In short, I was unbearable.  People are used to the sarcastic, cynical Buckingham, and an obviously happy Buckingham is a Buckingham to be regarded with suspicion and dread.
By the time I closed up shop for the day and headed back to the boat, the sky was looking ominous.
I didn’t care.  I was doing laundry tonight! (Pathetic, isn’t it?)  What convenience!  Not only that, it’s also $1.25 per load cheaper than going to the public “In in one piece, out in several” Laundromat.
I made dinner, cleaned up the galley, grabbed a chair and a whip and some raw meat, and corralled the mountain of dirty laundry.  It took about fifteen minutes and a nasty tee shirt bite on my hand to get it all into the laundry bags, but perseverance and a quick zap with a Taser won the day, and I set out.
By now, it wasn’t just raining.  It was like God had opened a fire hydrant.  After 2.5 seconds, I was drenched to the bone, but on I trudged through the wall of water with grumbling laundry slung over my shoulder, a pocket full of quarters, and a song in my heart.
I stuffed the machine, poured in the soap, clubbed back some aggressive sweatpants, and put the money in the slot.
I pushed it in.
I couldn’t believe it.
I looked at the back of the machine.
There was not a single hose in sight.
I, in a lunatic moment, driven temporarily insane by the joy of the washer’s return, simply assumed that, if the machine was there, SOMEBODY HAD BOTHERED TO HOOK IT UP!
Cursing, I packed up my now Wisk-soaked laundry again and waded back through the monsoon to my boat, the outer hull of which was drier than I would ever be again.  Dumping the sodden, complaining mess in a corner, I stepped into the head (that’s boat-talk for “bathroom”) and toweled off.
And suddenly, it went quiet. 
A little too quiet, if you know what I mean. 
         I poked my head out of the head and glanced at the corner where I had left the laundry.
It was gone!
I threw back the hatch cover and dashed out on deck, only to discover that my laundry had scattered itself all over the dock.  The monsoon was still in full swing.
I guess it had had about enough, and figured that if it couldn’t get washed one way, it’d get washed another.

1 comment:

  1. So funny, Carson. I can relate. Loved your line about the "hull was drier than I'd ever be again." Luckily, I haven't had to take a whip and chair to laundry since my son joined the Marines in 1984.