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How to Kill Time at a Laundromat: 20 Things to Do While Waiting for Your Laundry

I don't know about you, but I get bored at laundromats.

I wish I could wash my clothes at home, but, like a lot of people, I don't have a washer and dryer, and I have to lug everything down to a coin-operated laundry whenever I realize that I've already worn every shirt I own eight or nine times. It can take upwards of an hour or more to get everything done if your load is substantial enough, and most of that time is just spent sitting around watching the washing machine cycling and cycling. Now, if you like being hypnotized, that's fine, but if this bores the heck out of you, I just might have something that attempts to be a solution. Things you should do to kill time at the laundry:


1 - Press all the "coin return" buttons on the machines or check the change receptacles just in case someone forgot or didn't want their change. Maybe you can find enough to afford a soda from one of the vending machines!

2 - Buy a pack of those fabric softening sheets and rub them all over your body. They'll make you smell fabric fresh and also I heard from somewhere that they can act as a natural mosquito repellent.

3 - Talk to whoever is behind the front counter about which brand of detergent is better. If they give an answer, ask them why they carry the other (inferior) brands, then. No matter how they explain themselves about it, look incredulous after they've finished talking, snap your fingers and say "Exactly." Then walk away as if you've just proven something to yourself.

4 - Take one of the little buggies that are supposed to wheel around your load of laundry and sit in it or climb onto it in such a way that you can still reach the ground to propel yourself, then wheel yourself around the whole laundromat. Crash into the walls a lot. Make sure to avoid hitting the other patrons, though, since you don't want to be an asshole. If someone tells you to stop, get indignant and tell them you have to use the buggy to move around because you're disabled. Accuse the person who called you out of being an ableist.

5 - Go to one of the vending machines (if there are any) and buy lots of candy and/or soda. Drink a lot. Eat a lot. Eating usually isn't boring. If you don't have the money for it because you spent it all on your rinse cycle, then see number 1.

6 - Take the fabric softener sheets you bought in number 2 and make origami animals out of them, then place them on top of the dryers to greet the next customers. They'll be extra excited because not only do they get a cute paper animal, but they get a free sheet of fabric softener just when they needed it.

7 - If there are bored little kids there that were dragged along with their parents, play with them. If they have any coin-operated video games, challenge them to one of them, then laugh when you win (or be sulky and unreasonable when you lose).

8 - Stand up on a table and pretend you're a preacher of some sort and insult as many other religions as possible in your speech. If any of the other patrons get angry, at least they're not ignoring you, so it's less boring.

9 - Every laundromat in the history of mankind and the universe smells like recently-dried paint. It doesn't matter how long ago it was painted, it has that fresh paint smell emanating from the walls (always painted white) that you can often also smell at a Motel 6. Go next door or around the area to wherever there's a grocery store or pharmacy and buy air freshener. Go back to the laundromat and spray it around.

10 - Watch to see one of the other patrons who's waiting for his drying cycle to stop. Once it is finished, run as fast a you can and beat him to the dryer, and start folding his clothes for him. If he is bewildered or upset, tell him that you're one of those rare people who is aggressively nice and that you funnel your life's frustration into service for others, so he needs to back the hell away and let you freaking fold his laundry for the love of God.

11 - Press your crotch to a washer during its spin cycle.

12 - If you brought your own detergent, try to sell some of it to people who are walking up to the vending machine to buy some because they forgot theirs at home.

13 - If you didn't bring your own detergent, either, buy some from the vending machine, then try to sell it to people who just walked in the door.

14 - Go up to one of the high-capacity washers and crawl inside. Pretend like you're going to close the door and yell "I'm gonna do it, man! Don't think I won't!" really loudly.

15 - After your washing is done and before you step over to the dryer, wring your clothes out by waving your individual shirts around like nunchucks and whipping them against equipment.

16 - Go up to one of the other patrons who is loading a washer or a dryer and watch him, making sure that he knows that you are watching him. Every time he tosses in a pair of underwear, giggle in a high-pitched and juvenile manner.

17 - Take a cup, jar, or other empty container and put it in front of you. Write "TIPS" on it. Stand up and do an interpretive dance and/or other performance art. If anyone actually does tip you, use the money to do number 5.

18 - Stick your head inside one of the washers or dryers and yell "Echo!" or any other phrase so long as it maximizes the acoustics and your voice reverberates well against the metal interior. Ask other patrons around you if they can hear you.

19 - Grab paper towels and wet them, then go to one of the "porthole"-looking washers and wipe the glass on it as if it were a window. Put your face against it afterwards and act like you're trying to see something really far away through it. If anyone comes up to you and asks what you're doing, tell them you can almost see their future. If they seem receptive enough, charge them for a psychic reading.

20 - Buy a newspaper and look through the classifieds for a washer and dryer; because, seriously, this isn't worth it.

...And hopefully, next time--if there is a next time--you'll have something better to do than stare at your whites getting whiter and your brights getting brighter.

(*Note: photo by Catherine)