At the start of quarantine, there was a lot of uncertainty as to just how long this thing would last. Perhaps that was naivete. No yeah, that was definitely naivete. But see, I own a lot of t-shirts. You know what, we’ll get to that…
When everything locked down back in March and April of 2020, we lost a lot of things, everything changed, yadda yadda yadda. Possibly the most impactful loss of this nature for us was an easy way to wash our clothes. See, our apartment does not have a laundry machine on the premises. Not in our unit, and not in our building. So we, like many other people in this city, rely on a laundromat for this task.
Being suddenly unable to go out and sit inside a place for an hour or more meant that we had to seek alternatives. And in this living situation, the only alternative available to us is, well…see Figure A.
But see, I own a LOT of t-shirts. So there was a time, way, way back at the start of all of this, when I thought just maybe, I might be able to work my way through every last shirt I own, like Donkey Kong swinging from vine to vine above a swarm of bees, and outlast the deadly virus enveloping the world. I’d run out of underwear before things got back to normal, for sure, but I might not have to ever wash a shirt.
I want to say my supply of shirts lasted me until May.
Like I said, we had no idea.
And so, for the past year and change, once every week or so, we’d each find a time to sit in the bathtub and wash, rinse, and squeeze out our shirts, socks, and unmentionables. For a year we did this.
We’ve been very cautious. We didn’t go back to restaurants when capacity opened back up, we didn’t go back to the grocery store, we didn’t get back on the subway. We’ve been very safe. You literally cannot be too careful during a global fucking pandemic.
But now we’re vaccinated. We’ve got the good juice in our arms. The good juice that tells the bad dust not to kill us. And so, tomorrow afternoon, as I write this, we’re going back. We’re gathering up everything that has accumulated for a year, putting it in our laundry bags, and walking it all half a block over to our neighborhood laundry spot.
We’re going to load it all into big machines. Big machines that Do It For You. We’re going to watch it all get clean. And we’re going to watch it all get – miraculously – dry. Right there before our eyes. I’ll probably play some Switch.
It’s been a weird, wild, arduous year of washing the same shit in slight variations over and over. There have been a lot of pruny hands, a lot of irritated skin, and a lot of what was certainly too-long exposure to detergents that were not made for human contact.
I will not miss any of it. I will not even miss the solitude it brought, sitting alone in the tub, listening to a podcast or Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense again. I will not miss wringing out every goddamn item until it became warped beyond recognition. I will not miss the drying racks that are bigger than you’d like in your living space, while simultaneously limiting the amount of clothing you can wash at one time.
And I will not miss our laundry tub.
I will sit back and watch the machine spin.