Living in an apartment isn't necessarily a social experience. Really, there are relatively few times we interact with our neighbors, other than possibly to wave to them or say hi as we are exiting or entering the building. Our next door neighbor across the hall, Linda the Cat Lady, is a little different, but even then...she knocked on my door yesterday to borrow two chairs and a table from our deck, for Mother's day. It was the first time I had a full-on conversation with her in about a month.
The one exception is the laundry room. I DREAD the laundry room.
It's not the inconvenience of actually socializing. It's the fact that there's only one washer and one dryer in our apartment building, which means that everyone is fighting for the same piece of real estate.
Our neighbor on the second floor is the worst. She has two small children and honestly feels that the laundry area belongs to her family. Which means that she does a load and then leaves it there for hours. Sometimes days! One time I opened up the washer and her clothes actually smelled moldy from being in there, damp, for so long. And don't get me started about having to pick out other people's clothing from a washer or dryer. It's just...uncomfortable.
Yesterday, I wanted to do all the laundry, but the second floor lady was hogging all the action. Today, I went down with a load, determined to get it done. The place was covered with piles and baskets, but fortunately, both the washer and dryer doors were open.
At last! I couldn't tell where she was in the process, but the lights were off, which meant she hadn't been there recently. Now was the time to get that little load done. As fast as I could, I shoved my laundry into the washer.
And the MINUTE I closed the door and turned the washer on, I heard the door open upstairs. Footsteps down to the laundry room.
It was the lady from the first floor, with a small bag in her hand. NOT the annoying lady from the second floor. It looked like she had run out of detergent or something and had gone to the supermarket. Had I stolen her place in line?
Here's how I solved this: "Hi," I said.
"Hi," she replied. Then we parted ways.
Fifty minutes later and I knew the washer was ready. I ran downstairs to change loads, But no, the dryer was running.
Ah, okay. The first floor lady had been looking to dry her clothes. I was going to have to wait. Okay, I could handle this.
Ten minutes later and I'm upstairs. And I realize I didn't bother to check to see how long that damn dryer was running for.
Shit, I was sick of running up and down the stairs. "Corbie?" I asked, sweetly. Corb was sitting on the sofa, watching Modern Family, his current obsession. "Can you do me a favor?"
Corb frowned. Oh, the "F" word. I hate it, too. "What?"
"I've been downstairs for the laundry twice today. Can you go check and see if the first floor lady's laundry is done?"
Now seriously, Corb looked a little bothered. You'd think I asked him to rob a bank or something. "But how about if she's done there?"
"She was, earlier."
His lower lip jutted out. "But if she sees me nagging her to get her laundry out of the dryer, she'll hate me."
"If that's the case, she already hates me for stealing her space with the washer."
Ah. Corb triumphant. He had found his way out. "Then she can't hate me. We are a couple. You're only supposed to hate one half of a couple. If she hates you, she has to like me. So I can't go down."
Reluctantly, he went downstairs. It wasn't easy. I had to lift him off that sofa, push him to the door. Shove him down the stairs. But goddamit, why should i have to deal with the laundry politics, each and every time? There's another advantage to getting a house (if we get a house...this week will determine that!): no getting lathered up about the laundry. For that alone (and the thought of getting my own den,) it's going to be well worth it.