Last Monday at 9:45 PM I go to the laundry room in my building and put my clothes in the washing machine. At 10:30 I go to the washer to transfer the clothes to the dryer, and the clothes are sitting in about a foot of water — meaning the washing machine had broken down at some point during its cycle. I try taking clothes out, shifting them around, and adding more quarters, but nothing works. Figuring they’ve sat in soapy water long enough to be clean, I wring out each article of clothing and transfer them all into the dryer. The dryer won’t start.
I consider what laundromats might be open, and conclude that there are probably none. My girlfriend calls, and she suggests I bring them to her apartment, but that requires a disgusting bag full of wet laundry. I’m about to start using the second-floor outdoor hallway railing as a drying rack when I realize that there are lots of other apartments on my way to my girlfriend’s apartment. Namely, all the apartments on my block. Our apartment doesn’t lock its laundry room so maybe there are others that don’t either.
By this time it’s 11 PM and I start wandering down the alley behind our building, searching for an apartment where I can finish the laundry. The place next door locks its laundry room but I listen for the sounds of people who are still awake. One woman says she doesn’t have a laundry key. One guy says their building’s washer and dryer shut down after 10 PM. Finally, I find a building a few doors down with an open laundry room. I go back to my building, put all of my wet clothes into the laundry basket, and haul this incredibly heavy thing over to my new laundry room.
I put everything in the washer. The washer starts working. I come back 45 minutes later to find that the clothes are again sitting in a foot of water. I wring out half of the clothes and stick them in the dryer. The washer starts working again. The washer had been overwhelmed by the amount of clothes or the fact that they were already waterlogged and extremely heavy. I come back 45 minutes later, at around 2:30 AM, to find that the washer is done but the clothes in the dryer are still pretty wet. I stick the clothes from the washer into the dryer, and I resolve to finally go to sleep. Since I’ve stuffed lots of extra quarters into the dryer already, I figure it’ll stay on most of the night and I pray that by morning the clothes will be done.
At 8 AM, I wake up, walk down the alley to my new laundry room, and check the dryer. The clothes are done. It was as if my pets had died and come back to life. I put them into the now-dry laundry basket and bring them to my apartment.
Then I turn on the shower, and there’s no hot water. Which means the electricity in the entire laundry room must have shut off, because the laundry room houses the hot water heater. Mystery solved. But my shower was freezing.