Ten Important Lessons I Learned at the Laundromat:

In Life Lessons on March 18, 2011 at 2:15 am

I’ve had a rough couple of weeks. I’ve decided to try Logotherapy to help myself through this tough time. Logotherapy, in a nutshell, is the practice of finding meaning in the random things that happen to you in order to make sense of it all. The idea isn’t new and it isn’t mine. Viktor Frankl came up with logotherapy and somebody tweeted about it this morning. Sounded like a good idea so I thought to myself, Dawn, find some personal meaning in the broken washing machine. So here it is.

  1. Don’t act like a know it all. It’s better to ask for help than act all cool with your roll of quarters and then pour your soap in the wrong hole. And fabric softener. Just let the Russian lady who runs the Laundromat help you. I act like a know it all a lot. I think life would be easier if I didn’t bear the burden of having to act like I know everything. Also, more interesting conversations could happen if I let somebody else know something from time to time.
  2. Don’t pay in quarters. Or dimes or nickels or pennies for that matter. They don’t call it nickel and diming because it’s cool. Laundromats, toll booths and arcades used to operate on coins. Now the toll booth is operated by a white box glued to the inside of my windshield. The arcade is operated by make-believe quarters that have pictures of a giant talking mouse stamped on them. And the Laundromat is operated by a special Laundromat debit card into which you must put cash. And cash only. No coins. I feel bad for coins in a way. I wonder why people don’t like them. I can only assume it’s because they are rigid, they rattle, they stink, and it takes too many of them to buy anything. Which leads me to lessons #3 – 6:
  3. Don’t be rigid.
  4. Don’t rattle.
  5. Don’t stink.
  6. Don’t be cheap.
  7. If you want to accuse the Russian Lady of being both a spy AND a thief, accuse yourself first of being an idiot My grandfather used to say that if you want to criticize, don’t. If you still want to criticize, don’t. And if you STILL want to criticize, criticize yourself. I don’t think he made that up any more than I made up logotherapy but I heard it a million times throughout the course of my childhood. Clearly I still haven’t learned the lesson. When I couldn’t find the debit card for the Laundromat, I had a little conversation with the Russian Lady that went a something like  this:


Me: Should I use the same card next time I do laundry?

RL: Yes of course the card is yours!

Me: Well, can I have it back then?

RL: I don’t have your card.

Me: Neither do I!

RL: What do I want with your card?

Me: How should I know?

RL: Darling, I think your card is on top of the washing machine.

It was. After I thought about it, I realized that since I already fed my fifteen dollars into the machine, she already had my cash. The card was just a meaningless piece of plastic. Then I realized that ALL MY CASH is represented by meaningless pieces of plastic. Then I dug a hole in my yard in which to place my entire coin collection. Those aren’t plastic. No one can take them from me. Not that anyone wants them.

8.       Don’t carry your crap around in a black plastic trash bag and expect to get any respect. It just looks bad. And believe me, people judge you by the bag you carry.

9.       Don’t fight with your spouse in public. Exact same reason as for lesson #8. Exact. Also, don’t try to get all dramatic and grab your spouse’s arm and sigh and roll your eyes and genuflect either. While it’s entertaining for the rest of us, you just make yourself look melodramatic. I was accused of being melodramatic this week. I’m not. I’m plain old dramatic. If you have to overdo it, overdo in authentic drama. Not melodrama.

10.   If your car stinks, try keeping open bottles of Downy and Gain in the backseat. This was a lucky bonus lesson I learned after I lost the caps to the Downy and Gain bottles.

I might follow-up with meaning found in all the other things that broke this week: a long-term friendship, the dishwasher, a cup one of the kids made, the 4-in-1 printer, the sand dollar I found on the beach in Charleston, the furnace, the thermostat that runs the furnace and a bowl that Scott made in his pottery class. I’m not sure. For now, I’ve got to catch up on the laundry.

  1. Curse the Russian lady thief! 🙂 Good lessons here. I need to work on #5. Showering daily is too much work.


  2. ha, when did you start channeling Dave Barry? this one laughs like that.

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