Who Needs Clothes Anyway?

Who Needs Clean Clothes Anyway? I ran down the stairs of my dorm building at Arizona State University, slinging my laundry bag over my shoulder and taking the steps two at a time.

My phone, which I had since regretted putting at full volume, blasted out the familiar guitar solo to “Carry on Wayward Son” for the sixth time in the past ten minutes and vibrated in my back pocket. It was my mother. By that time, she had sent 14 texts, called five too many times, and probably issued a few carrier pigeons to wait on the windowsill in my room. It was the last day of classes before spring break and everyone was scrambling to get dorms clean, books packed, and, of course, laundry done. Admittedly, I did start my laundry a bit late. Did I know I was being picked up at 5:00? Yes.

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Did I know that it takes an hour and fifteen minutes to do laundry? Yes. Did I realize at 4:00 that I was not going to have enough time? Yes. But I was determined. After all, I have been told since pre-school days that I can do anything I put my mind to, even if it requires bending the laws of time so that I can have clean clothes. At first, it looked as if I would actually be able to wash and mostly dry my clothes.

Once I had finished washing my laundry, I was pretty optimistic. I rounded the corner to enter the laundry room, and when I saw that every single dryer was being used, I stopped short. Every. Single. Dryer. Most of them weren’t even full, spinning only a single pair of pants with a lone sock or bikini bottoms.

Making sure to give everyone in the laundry room the most sinister, evil eye I could muster, I attempted to inspire fear in their hearts. Surely someone would relinquish their dryer to me! No one did. And so I sat, fuming and impatient, waiting for some girl’s single bathing suit to dry which, after one drying cycle, was still damp and required another forty five minutes. Heaven forbid she should go swimming in a wet swim suit. I ended up having to use the air dry technique and left my dorm with damp clothes strewn across every dresser, cabinet, countertop, and bed frame. Now, I may be jumping to crazy and wild conclusions, but I believe this communal problem of not being able to conveniently wash and dry clothes could easily be solved by allocating more than sixteen washers and twelve dryers for a building that houses over 200 students.

But that’s just my opinion. Also, I must ask why there are sixteen washers and only twelve dryers? Why can’t we have an equal amount of washers and dryers? I truly do not understand the logic behind this setup. I would assume that for every washer being used, there is going to be a dryer needed after. Following this assumption to its conclusion, there just aren’t going to be enough dryers for everyone unless someone chooses to wear damp clothes or to combine loads with someone else. Both instances have the potential to be extremely awkward. This reasoning alone should be more than enough incentive for the dorm facilities managers of ASU to invest in more dryers for the residents.

Not only do the students of ASU need more washers and dryers to even out their numbers, but also because of certain people who consistently abuse these machines. In the laundry room there are special individuals you will inevitably run into. On the top of my hit list is the privileged, clearly-never-had-to-do-his-own-laundry, stereotypical frat guy. He is the one who comes in the laundry room with only four things needing to be washed, but still manages to take up seven machines and run them twice. I suppose no one ever told him that his white board shorts will not bleed into his white bro tank. Or maybe he just never grasped the concept behind colors.

Sister to the frat guy in both behavior and status is the stereotypical sorority girl. Replace board shorts with high waisted cut offs and bro tank with a crop top and you get the picture. Then there are the people who put their laundry in the washer or dryer, and proceed to take a road trip to Canada. They don’t take their laundry with them; instead, they leave it in the machine, forcing you to choose between going through their clothes and putting them on the community table for the world to see or leaving them in the machine and sacrificing your own laundry time. There is no way you can win. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but when there are a limited amount of machines, every second counts.

Including those spent on waiting for people to get back. These seconds are particularly important when another student is waiting for you to remove your clothes from the washer, but there are no dryers open. As you stand in awkward silence, he nonchalantly points out that one of the dryers has stopped. You had noticed this before, but didn’t want to be the one to take out the clothes. Now, however, the responsibility is on you since he pointed it out.

You open the dryer to discover this particular laundry load belongs to an athletic male – an athletic male with a surplus of jock straps. You hesitate, clearly uncomfortable, but the guy waiting for you insists that whoever owns this laundry won’t mind, even though he makes no move to help you remove it. Before you know it, you are tangled up in a stranger’s underwear and flushing tomato red. But I digress. At the other extreme are the people who, upon discovering that a machine has stopped, immediately take out the clothes.

When I say immediately, I mean the second it stops. Sometimes even before. I love it when I show up early to switch my laundry from the washer to the dryer and discover that some kind soul has so generously removed my wet clothes for me and placed them in a moist pile on the crowded table. I’m sure they meant well, but I’m not too fond of the idea of my wet laundry mingling with someone else’s wet laundry. We could, in reality, just kick all these laundry room criminals out of ASU, thereby ensuring that those who remain can efficiently wash and dry their clothes. However, I feel as though the college would quickly become a very empty place, not to mention the budget for washers and dryers would significantly be depleted due to lack of cash cow students paying egregious living expenses.

So let’s stick with adding just a few more washers and dryers. By adding more machines to the ASU laundry rooms, those of us who need clean clothes can successfully wash and dry our laundry with significantly less interaction with laundry room offenders. It really eats at me that I pay twelve thousand dollars to live in the ASU dorms and use the facilities, but I have to stay awake until three in the morning in hopes of merely getting a chance to do my laundry. Generally speaking, I like clean clothes and smelling decent when going out in public. I feel that a little bit of that twelve grand I’m shelling out could be used to ensure there are enough washers and dryers to accommodate all the students living in the building.

With over 200 students sharing a total of sixteen washers and twelve dryers, a number of those students lacking a sense of laundry room etiquette, and an atrociously high dorm expense, I think an increase in the number of washers and dryers is warranted. At the very least, we could get a clothesline and a ribbed washboard.