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Oh, to own a washer and dryer. I would by now, but I keep moving around the country, and a washer and dryer do not fit easily in even my biggest airplane-appropriate suitcase.

Laundromats were birthed around 1947, and the first coin operated one is thought to be in Philadelphia, according to Wikipedia. I am not sure why they are called “laundromats” as opposed to “laundrymats”. The original names were launderette, (a term still used in the UK) and Wash-A-Teria. I’ve never heard of the Wash-A-Teria, and I’ve used many a coin operated laundromat, across the United States. It may be an older term.

It comes with its pros and cons, but the real reason I use a laundromat is that my town house ad said, “Washer and Dryer hookups” but failed to mention that the said hookups were not in my actual town house.

The one I use has over twenty steel dryers, and over twenty industrial and larger than average sized dryers. They are all quiet, and offer a soothing “hum” as they work meticulously around the clock. The laundromat is complete with 70’s era linoleum, and mismatched plastic benches, propped up against the machines. Usually I get a free back massage from the vibrations given off by the washers. An added bonus, if you ask me. Not an added bonus would be the teenaged attendants “working” to help make my laundromat experience a better one. It’s more like unsupervised time with the boyfriend, full of annoying juvenile giggles. I was never like that, I swear.

As Americans, my husband and I are guilty of over-indulging in just about everything, including the amount of clothes we own. I usually go two to three weeks before I need to do laundry again. That means every two plus weeks, I load up the car with three overflowing baskets, detergent, dryer sheets, and the infamous bag of coins. I usually have to go to the ATM, grab a twenty-dollar bill, go to the gas station to break the twenty-dollar bill, and then finally find a change machine for the quarters I’ll need. A multi-step process for sure.

I love the excuse to wear mismatched clothing. It’s the one day that pajama pants or tie-dye, (no, I take that back. Tie-dye is never allowed in public. It shouldn’t even exist) or frumpy pants are allowed. Any stares can be returned with a shrug and “It’s laundry day…” sentence trailing off, because they’ll understand.

The pros:
-All laundry gets done in one sitting, as opposed to the endless stream of wash and dry cycles at home.
-The ability to blog or catch up on the news while accomplishing this task.
-Cute United States Marines doing their laundry.
-The fun things I find in my husband’s pockets: including guitar picks, chap stick, receipts, gum, pens, power cords, eye glasses, coins, (I use any quarters I find immediately) boot straps, his cell phone, metal objects, and more.

The cons:
– I could have bought two or three washers and dryers by now, with all the quarters I’ve used to pay for laundry since college.
-Bed bugs. As rampant as they are in the United States, I check each machine carefully, and use the highest heat settings available.
-Annoying giggling puberty-hitting “workers”.
-Strangers. I have some rules about eye contact and conversing with strangers. This especially goes for Marines.
-Endless folding.
-Safety. Coin operated laundromats are not known for being in the best neighborhoods, or having the nicest people frequent them, myself excluded.
-Other people’s underwear in close proximity to mine.

The good news is that the military will soon be sending us elsewhere, and I’m going to make sure that it’s to a house, my own washer and dryer. No more laundrymat for me.