I’ve done my own laundry for about eight years now. When I was around 10 years old, my mom told me that she wasn’t going to clean and fold my clothing anymore and that it was now my responsibility.
I was quite miffed about the fact that perfectly creased t-shirts wouldn’t just appear in my drawers anymore.
So when I got to Goshen College, I didn’t think that doing laundry would be a big deal. In fact, I was probably a little arrogant about my clothes-cleaning skills. I wasn’t one of those privileged kids whose mother would do her laundry for her up into adulthood.
No, I was an independent woman who took care of herself and got the mascara stains out of her white towels all on her own.
The first time I washed my laundry at Goshen, everything went without a hitch. I put the new, orange detergent in the correct compartment, and I waited the 25 minutes for my clothes to go through the sudsy cycle. I easily tossed my washed, damp clothing into the dryer and went on my way, coming back after an hour to pick up my warm, fresh-smelling clothing.
But the second time I did my laundry, everything went wrong.
Because I thought I was a grown-up with great judgement, I disregarded the detergent cap that all people with common-sense use when pouring out the soap. That’s right. I just poured the detergent in the compartment.
And the problem with just dumping soap into the washer is that as soon as you pour in the soap, it disappears, and you can’t tell how much you’ve put in. So, from what I can tell, I just poured in about half the bottle of detergent – because when I came back after 25 minutes, the washer was spilling out white foam.
I can only describe the moment when I saw my two washers, full of foam, as being hot and full of fear. I think my entire body flushed bright red, although no one else was in the laundry room. Expletives ran through my head like never before and I had no clue what to do.
So, like any smart, sensible person who’s had a lapse of judgement, I called my mom. She laughed when I told her my major malfunction. She and my father both thought the situation was incredibly hysterical. I, however, did not.
No. I was terrified of upperclassmen seeing my rookie mistake. When other people came into the laundry room, I would quickly flee, terrified they would realize that the foamy washers belonged to me and they would start referring to me as the “idiot washer girl.” Even worse, I was terrified that Dr. Mitch would see the overflowing washers and hunt me down.
When the laundry room was clear, I quickly grabbed my soapy clothing and threw them into a new, clean washer, and quickly set them to wash again. I hate to admit it, but I left the two used washers full of foam.
My mother told me to clean them out, but what would I have used? I had already used all of the spare rags in the laundry room to mop up the bubbles that had fallen on the ground.
Now looking back, I can only imagine that the whole entire scenario looked like something out of “I Love Lucy.’’ Foam pouring out of the washers, and a desperate young woman on her hands and knees trying to clean it up before anyone comes into the laundry room. Sitcom gold, I’m sure.
Luckily, after a third wash, my clothing was no longer soapy and was ready to be dried. When I put my soap-free clothes into the drier, it was as if the heavens had descended, and I was free from all embarrassment. A moment full of bliss.
So, if on Saturday, September 17, you went to go put your clothes in a washer and found it full of foam, it’s my fault. I am the idiot washer girl.