Today was laundry day. I hate laundry day with a passion that frequently becomes way beyond irrational. In fact, I often become downright angry about this basic chore and it’s all thanks to the sign up. Here in Sweden, most apartments have a communal laundry. To use it, you have to sign up for it on a calendar. Swedes are proud of the laundry system and it works well in theory. It’s very equal. Very socialist.. But everyone else in the building also wants to use that one washer and dryer. So that means that my fellow building dwellers sign up days and weeks in advance for their laundry time slot, often leaving me to find my time when it’s available and not necessarily convenient. With time, I’ve learned to anticipate my needs and sign up for the laundry ahead of time. And I’ve gotten savvy enough to sign up for the laundry before I go on holiday to ensure I have clean underwear when I return.
I don’t know quite why the communal laundry bothers me so much–maybe it’s my American “I want it now” side coming out. I should be happy that I have a laundry in my building. I’ve even discovered that the laundry is apparently not so bad in my building. I have friends who have gotten their laundry dumped on the floor because they were in a dryer five minutes beyond their alloted time. I know people who have stayed home from work to get laundry done as they could find no available slots for weeks on end. My friend Julie was yelled at by an old lady in her laundry room and given a lesson on properly cleaning out the lint collector and sweeping the floor. So I should not complain about my relatively calm laundry room.
One of the brighter spots of doing laundry for me was the drying room: a room with a powerful heater where you could hang your clothing to dry on the line, giving it that hung-outside crispness. I loved the drying room as I felt it kept my clothes from getting as beaten up as what they did in the dryer. But my building’s drying room heater broke about six months ago and my landlord did not fix it, deeming that it was an energy waste. Thus now I am reduced to using a standard dryer and draping my clothes over the radiators to dry. And adding further insult to all my woes, the laundry is in the basement of my building. I live on the top floor. So that means I trek down 67 steps one way for each load of laundry that I do. I hate that too. Like I said already, it’s not rational. But it is a part of my life in Sweden.