So, last night, I had to do laundry again.
As I step off the elevator at the basement, I see one of the building's most despised inhabitants: Illegal Subletter Asshole.
Illegal Subletter Asshole owns two adjoining apartments. For a while, he had been renting one of them out until the coop board caught wind of it. He is also, you guessed it, an asshole with all the personality of a stop sign and a face to match.
Illegal Subletter Asshole actually came to the open house for the apartment we now own because, in addition to being an asshole, he is also extremely nosey. I feared he would be able to make an offer on the apartment and we'd be shut out, but luckily, the real estate knew him (and his reputation) and grilled him like a detective, practically throwing him out.
So here I am, face-to-face with a neighbor I hate so much that I would rather hand-wash all the clothes in the toilet bowl than have to interact with him in the tiny laundry room.
If I can even get in the laundry room.
You see, Illegal Subletter Asshole is basically blocking the door to the laundry room. He utters something to me as I squeeze past him.
There are two washers with their lids open. These are "his" washers that he is "guarding" by dumping soap into them so no one else can use them. He has run ahead of his boyfriend to do this and is now waiting for the clothes.
With his boyfriend still upstairs in the apartment, Illegal Subletter Asshole grows more and more agitated with each second.
As for me, I stand there, dumbfounded.
"This one is empty," he admits, giving up the third machine in the corner. The fourth is already churning away.
I had planned on doing two loads, so I now had to pick through my basket to determine what was most important to wash.
In my head, I visualized running an old fashioned washboard across Illegal Subletter Asshole's ugly face. I would not stop until I reached the back of his head.
Illegal Subletter Asshole's anorexic boyfriend comes down and together, as if part of some kinky foreplay, they fill the machines. I'm sure that they had fully intended to use all the machines tonight and I am now in their way. This gives me some satisfaction.
Illegal Subletter Asshole says something to me and points to the fourth machine. "No, that's not mine." I say incorrectly. What he had said was that the fourth machine had stopped spinning, which translates to: You are within your rights to remove the wet clothes and dump them on the counter.
Because this is what Illegal Subletter Asshole would probably do himself.
No thank you. I leave the laundry room with my basket of unwashed clothes and note the time.
When I return to the room, I bring a book with me. I notice that the display on my machine reads "$1.25." This means A) that the machine is done, and B) someone had peeked in while I was gone.
You see, when the washing machines are done, the readouts show the number zero. Opening the lid resets it so it shows the price.
So at least one of those freaks was peeking at my laundry down there.
I see that their machines are finished, but both dryers are being used by a third apartment.
It is now a race to see who can get to use the two dryers first. Technically, it would be me, and so, if I want to be first, I'll have to wait down here for 15 minutes.
But here was another problem. If the dryer stops, do you take the clothes out? Or do you wait? In a big laundromat, you could probably get away with it, but in a residential building, you're just setting yourself up for a war with the neighbors involving bleach in the washers and crayons in the dryers.
I decide to be civil and wait. The clothes in the dryer could belong to a coop board member for all I know.
I imagine that if Illegal Subletter Asshole came down right now, that he would dump out the clothes and ignore my recommendation that we wait - and that he get his ugly, pasty, bony ass on line behind me.
I decide that if he does dump out the clothes, that I would bust him. I might pretend to be reading my book, but I would be waiting for him to leave. I would then leave a note for the owner of the dumped clothes: "The person living in apartment 3A did this to you. He actually threw them on the floor and stepped on them, too."
Suddenly, the owner of the clothes comes and pulls the items out of the first dryer, putting them in the second dryer, which still had more time.
"Busy day for laundry," I say.
"Everybody back from vacation," he replies in his thick accent.
I put my clothes in the dryer and, rather than go upstairs, continue to read "When You are Engulfed in Flames," by David Sedaris.
Unfortunately, Illegal Subletter Asshole never returns, so I'll never know if his dryer worked properly, or turned itself off.
But, you know, I still have another load of laundry to do tonight.