In my defense, I'd been trying off and on over the past 4 days or so to get into the laundry room, but 'tis the season where people swap out the winter gear for the summer gear, so that means everyone is doing more laundry than usual.
Keep in mind, my laundry room serves 16 apartments, and it's got two washers and two driers. That's it. Most of the time, it's not a problem, but when "clothes swapping" season is in full swing, it bottlenecks like whoah!
Anyway, I figured that ass-crack of dawn on Sunday during a long weekend would be safe laundry-room wise.
Except not so much. One woman had beaten me and was loading her laundry into the washing machine. While I wasn't happy, if this woman had the gumption to get up even earlier than I did to hit the laundry room...well, good for her. I could wait.
Anyway, I came back a half-hour later (long enough for her wash to cycle through and for her to get to it), and lo and behold, I was faced with two quiet washing machines and no sign of said woman.
So, I grumbled and did the polite thing: I removed her laundry and tossed them into the open dryers.
I had just finished loading both washing machines (and I had two more batches to load after that because, y'know, sheets need to be cleaned and that's one batch right there) when the woman comes puffing into the laundry room all apologies and thanking me for putting her laundry in the dryer.
Awwwww. Nice of her, I thought.
Then I made the mistake of joking that I thought sure I'd be the only one in the laundry room, so I was a little surprised to see that I got beat to the dryers.
"Well, y'know," the woman says to me, "the people around here have a habit of hogging the washing machines. They'll just come in here with 4, 5, 6 loads of wash and do them one right after the other using both washing machines and both driers at the same time, with even more laundry waiting to go in."
Picture me trying not to look at my 4 loads of wash as I say the following: "There are a lot of families around, so it's not surprising that people have that much laundry on a regular basis. I mean, I have a lot of laundry because I've been trying to get in all week and haven't managed to catch the laundry room at a non-busy moment."
"So, you know. It's all these people who hog the machines," she says.
"It's not hogging the machines if they keep the laundry moving. Hogging the machines is when you let your laundry sit in washing machine or the drier a half-hour after it's done," says I. "And, hey, it's not like we have to lug laundry across town. We have to cross the street. Besides, you can always come back and do it tomorrow if you're behind someone with that much laundry. I've done it more than once."
"Well, they should let someone with less laundry go first instead of using all the machines when people are trying to get the laundry done," she tells me.
This surprised me so much that for a moment I was stunned. Then I asked, "If they were here first, why should they do that?"
This woman starts to glare at me. "Because it's rude to use up all the machines when people with less laundry need to wash their clothes."
"No it's not," I said. "They were here first, they should do their laundry first. Besides, it's not like they're less busy than we are. And like I said: We're right across the street. It's not like I'm going to run out of clothes if I have to wait a day or two."
"Maybe I'm not explaining myself well," I swear this woman sounds like she's trying to 'mansplain' something to me, "people who are doing more than 2 or 3 batches of clothes should leave one washer and dryer free so other people can use the machines."
"Except for the part where I've been in here doing 3 or more batches of wash and no one has so much as stuck their head in the laundry room, despite the fact 3 or 4 batches of wash takes 2 hours between washing and drying. So why should I leave a machine free, and nearly double my time in the laundry room, because someone might show up with a laundry basket? That doesn't make sense."
The woman starts staring at me as she realizes that I don't agree with her, despite the fact that I just told her that I had a shitload of laundry to do because I haven't been able to get near a machine all week due to the business of the laundry room.
She kind of huffs out of the laundry room after that.
Anyway, I'm utterly baffled. Where is this mysterious "laundry etiquette" coming from? As far as I know, "laundry etiquette" consists of making sure you take your clothes out of the washing machine/dryer when they're done and cleaning the lint trap in the dryer. Giving someone with less laundry "cutsies" even though they got there after you? Really?
I'm a veteran of shared laundry facilities, and I can't imagine walking up to someone who's already loading up a washing machine and demanding that I should go first because they I have less laundry to do. I mean, seriously? I've never even seen that. Ever.
I can just imagine how well this demand would go down in a busy laundromat (I'm thinking, "Not well.")
On what planet does "less laundry to do" trump "got to the washing machine first?"
Is this something new? Or was I just dealing with a special little snowflake?
I suspect "snowflake" is the correct answer here...