Pieces of my world

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Worked into a lather

It had been two weeks. I hadn't done any washing. I surveyed my drawer. Two and a half pairs of socks. Two and a half pairs of socks?? Is that IT?? Well obviously it was. I am used to socks 'magically' just appearing at home, as a magic fairy* washes and dries them for me. The thought crossed my mind, briefly, that it might just be time to locate the campus laundrette. But then I remembered the mile long list of things I have to do and pushed this impending crisis to the back of my mind. "I'll worry about it later..." I resolved.

Three days later. Confronted with the remainder of one sock and absolutely no clean clothes (the best being a crumpled sweatshirt, no-so-white shirt and a pair of muddy jeans), I realised that it was futile to resist: even though I'd been dreading this moment since arrival, I was going to have to face my worst fears and figure out, for the first time in my life, how a washing machine works.


So, armed with my washing powder, clothes carefully stowed away in a Waitrose bag-for-life, which I'd purchased earlier that morning (ha, I can relish in my Blue Peter moment- see my moment of triumph, that's forward planning!) I picked my way past the rubble on my bedroom floor down to the laundrette. The laundrette is at once a comforting and horrifying place. Comforting because it is the one college room which is even messier than my study-bedroom: you have to navigate your way through piles of crumpled garments that have been chucked out of washing machines so they can be used by other people, while three broken beds are randomly stacked against one wall. Horrifying because, well, the machines are so complicated. They're snazzy! And have flashing buttons! And a million options- Delicates! Whites! Lingerie! Spin! Hot! Cold! Warm! I pressed 'warm' tentatively, because I had vague recollections of Mum telling me that's how you wash jeans, and you know what? The machine beeped at me! Beeped!! I asn't expecting a response!

So anyway. I managed to load my clothes into the drum without any problem. I managed to press the right options. I managed to shut the door without issue. I had remembered my washing powder and my fabric softener. I was starting to feel a little more confident about washing my own clothes by my very own self. Thoughts of "Yes, OctoberPoppy, you can DO this!" began to chase through my mind.

And so I got over-confident.

I was liberally shaking some powder into the powder drawer, when a guy ran over, arms flailing, gesticulating wildly.

"Nooooooooo!!" He cried. "What are you doing??? You DO NOT put washing powder in there! It's clearly labelled rinsing agent!!" I dumbly followed the jabbing of his accusing finger and read the sign at snail pace. It did indeed say 'rinsing agent' (remind me again why I can comprehend the finer aspects of romanesque architectural features, but not operate something so simple as a washing machine?) This was not the worst however. After the debacle of pouring washing powder in the rinsing agent drawer, I carefully positioned my bottle of fabric softener on top of the washing machine, to read the instructions. "Full load...cap....pour one caps worth of Comfort...ok...I can do that" I muttered to myself. Confident of my ability to pour the fabric softener in the right partition (I checked this was the right drawer this time), I reached over.

That's when it happened.

My arm somehow caught the bottle and sent it flying, a pool of fabric softener wooshing out of the bottle...straight into my face and down my front.

I have never been so grateful that I wear glasses. With some lens wipes, my specs were quickly saved. Had it contacted my eyes, which it surely would have had it not been for my wearing glasses, I may very well have been blinded. I stood there, in a pool of comfort, my favourite aqua green jumper rapidly absorbing the half bottle of fabric softener which I'd just spilled. I stood shock still (I think we've already established the fact that I was having a somewhat "thick" day) before it occurred to me that I couldn't very well leave the comfort to completely ruin the garment and that I had no option but to whip off my jumper and stick it into the machine.
If you are reading this, are at Durham University, and have recently been traumatised by the vision of a girl running back to her room attired in nothing but a pair of jeans and bra, I sincerely apologise.
The jumper washed fine, by the way. People have remarked though, on the rather strong flowery smell that my aqua green jumper is imbued with. I don't tell them it's the result of tipping half a bottle of Comfort on it.

*ahem, Mum


Blogger mur said...

I think the Roman(esques) probably bashed their clothes with a rock to get them clean but there were probably some plebs that couldn't quite get the hang of that either so don't feel too bad ;)

8:52 pm  

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