Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

The Laundry Room Run-In

The Palinode and I live in an apartment building with shared laundry facilities. I would love to have a washer and dryer in our apartment, but this building was built about eighty or so years ago and is not equipped for such modern technologies. That is probably also why our building's laundry facilities are so freaking spanktastic:

a photo of our squalid shared laundry room


There are only two washers and two dryers stuck in a nook in a corner of one of the scariest basements I have ever lived above.

scary basement 2


Of course, nothing beats the basement below the first place I lived when I moved out on my own. My roommate and I were checking to see if there was any storage area down there and were met with what looked like a forgotten crime scene. An old mattress that was shoved up against a wall was covered in what looked like dried blood and clumps of what may have been human hair were stuck to the crumbling concrete floor. Next to that, the hills of rodent droppings and the old rope in the rafters seemed like nothing.

I was down in our mildly horrifying laundry room this afternoon, and both the washing machines were stopped and the dryers were empty, so I checked inside one of the washers. All it had in it was one blanket, so I took it out and placed it inside a dryer. If it was somebody's underwear, I would normally just leave it untouched, but I figured that no one would lose their shit over my touching their wet blanket and putting it where it was going to go anyway.

That sounds like I should insert some sexual innuendo right now, but I am not.

I put some detergent in the now empty washer and was starting to put our bedding into it when this big, early-twenties dude showed up.

I was going to use that washer! he said.

You weren't here, I said. It came out sounding kind of smarmy, but I was a little taken aback. It is a shared public laundry room.

I left stuff in there so no one else could use it, he said. His voice was shaking with anger.

Uhm, no, you cannot do that, buddy. He had commandeered the laundry room for the entire afternoon, and I was not about to sleep in a bed that my cat had so thoughtfully dragged kitty litter onto, not to mention the toenail clippings I found embedded in the chenille bedspread.

Well, you weren't here. And I'm just using one of the washers. You still have the other one.

Apparently, he really needed to wash all of the clothing he owned all at once today. It is really very cold here right now, so maybe he honestly did need six pairs of pants, three sweaters, eight t-shirts, and twelve mismatched socks to get through the night.

He continued to stand there, visibly vibrating with rage, and restated over and over how he thought both public washing machines were his even though he had not been there to continue using them. It was weird. I could feel his ugly energy washing all over me, and I started to feel a very real fear. I had left him the full use of one of the two washers and both of the dryers, so his overreaction was worrisome. I wondered how well my screams would carry from down there in the dank.

Look, here, you can use this washer. I've already put detergent in it, but it's good stuff. He had completely rattled me, because I found myself taking out the sheets I had already put into the washer. My hands and arms were getting sticky with liquid detergent.

I don't want to use your detergent.

No, it's okay. Go ahead.

No, I don't want to use your detergent. He tried to lock his eyes menacingly with mine. I busied myself with stuffing the rest of my bedding into the washer.

Oh, I see. My ownership of any detergent immediately putrefies it. Sweet jeebus. At least my horrible failing as a human being paid off in my being able to use the washer that I had already loaded with my bedding when he was not there with any laundry to reload it.

I have enlisted the Palinode to put the laundry in the dryer later. I think I have had enough of that hulking, angry laundry freak for today. I am willing to admit that maybe touching his wet blanket was a slight overstep, but getting all vibraty and shaky-voiced over not being able to have continual run of the whole public laundry area makes it seem like someone needs to get himself to anger management therapy, pronto.



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