So, when I first told you I’d be blogging about my traipses across Europe and about my forays into spreading American goodwill and getting fat off of schnitzels, I imagine you had visions of posts bursting with architecture, history, and culture dancing through your head. Instead, you’ve been presented with posts about garbage disposals and pillows, you lucky reader you.
And today, I am proud to complete this perfect trifecta of mundanity: today, I give you laundry.
Do you remember laundry day at college? How you’d have to sneakily lug your laundry down three flights of stairs at the crack of dawn in hopes of having a chance at one of the three washers the other two hundred kids in your dorm were vying for? And how you’d have to sling someone’s batch of wet pantaloons out of the washer and onto whatever surface area presented itself, because owner of said pantaloons went off and took a nap and forgot all about his soggy laundry? And then once you scored a washer of your very own, you too went off and took a nap, thus forgetting all about your own pantaloons until they too had been slung out of washer, and your most embarrassing pair of underwear always seemed to land on top? And then all the dryers would probably be broken? Remember how much that sucked?
Prepare to be one-upped. That’s nothing compared to laundry day in Deutschland.
You see, there is no laundromat Bingen, let alone in my apartment (amenities, ha!). This is especially strange considering the plethora of seemingly unnecessary businesses in the area (four travel agencies and no laundromat?). So, when the going gets tough, what does one do? Wash in the sink? Hope no one notices? Start buying a new wardrobe (all in the name of assimilation, though, right?)? Do as Kyle does, who, in his infinite wisdom (and in his requested recurring role as giver of cheap advice), said only this: “when life gives you a hatmaker and not a laundry machine, make underwear out of hats”?
Actually, none of the above.
Instead, I travel to Mainz, location of the nearest Waschsalon I’ve found to date. Today, I loaded up my laundry in a suitcase so as to be as inconspicuous as possible and took it to the bus stop, where the two-toothed man perpetually sitting on the bench there asked me if I was going on vacation, to which I replied, “Yep, a vacation to the laundromat!” Ha! Ha! After busing through Bingen, I switched to the train, hopped off at the station, pulled my suitcase through the streets of Mainz and, a mere hour and a half later, rolled into the laundromat, only to be greeted with cryptic directions (“At the end of drying time is the laundry very fluffy and flat. You can obey crinkles if you can remove laundry and directly fold it.”) and washing machines that offer so many possible compartments to put laundry detergent in that the only logically explanation I can come up with is that they were designed by the same pranksters who created Germany’s multi-bin trash system.
If you overlook the inconvenience, the seven hours it took, and the 25 euro I’m out after coughing up bus and train fare, it wasn’t so bad a day, really. Maybe it was the novelty that being in a laundromat held for this suburban girl, or maybe it was because my internet worked better there than in my house and so the bulk of today’s conversations with parents and Joe did not consist of “Can you hear me? What? Sorry, you came out garbled. What? Argh!”, or maybe it’s just the beauty of having clean clothes again… I really didn’t mind it. Maybe I’ll even do it again some time, because when it comes down to it, there’s nothing else quite like that fluffy, flat feeling of just-out-of-the-dryer laundry.