Let’s talk about etiquette, shall we? Yes, we shall, because it recently became a hot-button issue over here at my apartment complex and I’d like to take a quick poll of readers’ opinions on the subject.
My new roommate (who is vegan, by the way, so he definitely doesn’t eat alligators or armadillos) needed to do laundry, but someone’s clothes were co-opting the washer. He waited approximately one hour, and then decided to place the offending clothes on top of the dryer and go about washing his load.
Well, my next-door neighbor, who happens to have a bit of a temper and a penchant for blaming the world for everything, came home from work to discover that his clothes had been moved and went APE SHIT. I mean, we’re talking a full-out “whothefucktouchedmylaundryfuckinghellthat’s fuckingbullshitwhatthefuckIdon’ttouchanyone else’sclothesFUCKYOU” screaming sesh out in the courtyard. My roommate went outside to apologize, only to have my neighbor say, “No, it’s okay,” then go inside and continue, very audibly, with his tirade.
Now, normally I get along quite well with said temper-tantrum thrower, as generally speaking I just keep my mouth shut because some things are not worth arguing about. Plus, we help each other out: I walk his daughter to school in the mornings, for instance, and he occasionally pet-sits for Chelsea. But when you go all passive-aggressive on my new roommate for reasons that are absolutely beyond absurd, I get upset.
Maybe it’s just me, but I follow a “you snooze, you lose” laundry policy. I mean, there’s only one freaking washing machine for all ten units, and if you have the audicity to start a load before you head off to work, then you better be prepared to deal with the consequences when you get home. When I went over to my neighbor’s to talk to him about it, he told me that it is “laundry etiquette” to knock on everyone’s doors and find the person whose clothes are in the way and politely request that he or she move them.
Come on! Even Mr. Rogers wouldn’t have done that. Moreover, Mr. Rogers would have had the decency to refrain from shouting obscenities at the brand-new neighbor, and would have instead knocked on his door and offered him a fruit cake or fresh-baked cookies or something neighborly like that.
In every place I have ever lived, my forgotten laundry ends up piled somewhere waiting for me to finish it. Sure, it sucks when someone drops half of it on the floor, or when they remove it from the dryer when it’s still kind of damp, but you know what? It’s my fault for not taking care of it. So if you care that much about what happens to your clothes, then you should be there to babysit them. Pick up a book and pull up a chair, because you’re doing your fucking laundry.
Frankly, I’m such a slacker when it comes to laundry that I once had my clothes held hostage in a laundromat overnight. I completely forgot about my clothes until 20 minutes to closing time, and evidently the proprietors of the joint had decided to throw in the handtowel early that evening because the entire place was chained up and empty by the time I arrived. I was pissed, for sure, but she who neglects her laundry has no grounds for complaint.
Anyway, in the most neighborly way possible, we agreed to disagree about what constitutes laundry etiquette. He put a sign on the dryer that reads, “DO NOT TOUCH PEOPLES [sic] LAUNDRY, ASK THEM 1ST” and I am resisting the urge to hang one next it that reads, “Do not leave clothing unattended. Unattended laundry will be relocated.”
So, now I ask you: what would Emily Post do in my roommate’s situation? Wait patiently for days on end until her neighbor gets around to finishing the load? Give up and simply go to a laundromat? Knock on everyone’s door and leave notes for the people who weren’t home until the culprit comes clean? Or simply plop the laundry on top of the dryer?
What would you do?