Sunday, November 16, 2008

11/16/08 Sunday afternoon at the laundromat

Now that I live at "The Verandah," I have to go to the laundromat. I still remember how excited I was 25 years ago when I bought my house that I didn't have to go to the laundromat anymore. And I smiled every time I did a load of wash in the middle of the night while wearing pajamas because I knew how great it was that I could. In my house, I never had a laundry "schedule". I had extra towels and sheets and pajamas that I could change any one of those and not feel compelled to do laundry right away since there were plenty of clean ones sitting on a shelf or in a drawer. My new minimalistic lifestyle has changed that, but so far, it hasn't been too bad. I schedule my laundromat visits for every other weekend (yes, sadly, I do have it on my calendar so I can plan ahead if something awesome comes up on a laundromat weekend). I can generally get everything done in 2 washer loads (though they do have different-sized washing machines in case I have a bigger load than usual). I hadn't realized it, but even though I schedule the weekend for doing laundry, I think I've always done laundry on the Saturday of laundry weekend. This weekend I came on Sunday and discovered something about Farmington. Sunday must be THE day to do laundry.

Look at all the people in this photo and there were probably 10 more people not in the photo. Also notice that all 16 dryers have clothes in them. I actually had to wait for a dryer. I have not had this experience on any of the Saturdays that I've done laundry. More people means a greater chance that I will run into someone I know, so of course, I ran into 2 students and a colleague on the Maine Community Heritage Project while I was there.

And that leads to a hysterical story of "What Are the Odds?"

So Wendy (the MCHP colleague) and I are both standing (probably more aptly described as "hovering") around waiting for a dryer. There's a nice waiting area at this laundromat, but for this stage of the Laundry Game with this many players, standing and waiting seemed the more appropriate tactic. Within minutes of each other, 3 dryers availed themselves. Wendy took the first one (she was waiting before I joined the queue) and I took the second one which happened to be right next to hers. Our dryers were in the corner, so we each had our dryer doors only open 45 degrees and were standing at a funny angle to try to put laundry in. Almost simultaneously, we both dropped some pieces of laundry. We both bend down to pick them up and we both reach for the fuzzy sock that looks like this:

There were 3 pieces of laundry on the floor, one was mine, one was hers, and one was this sock. It turns out, we both have a pair of these crazy-looking fuzzy socks! AND we were both washing them that day. We had no idea whose sock this one was!! Wendy said she would dry it and if she ended up with 3 socks, she would know exactly to whom she should return the extra one. As it turned out, since we both finished our dryer loads about the same time, we figured out the rightful owner before even leaving the laundromat. As we put our socks together, we discovered that mine had a tiny REI tag on it and hers had a tiny tag with an acorn figure on it. The socks are made by Acorn (I actually knew that part) but mine had been purchased at REI and I guess must have been marketed as REI socks. Wendy had 3 socks, 2 with acorns and 1 with an REI tag, and I had only 1 sock with an REI tag. A quick exchange and then we both had 2 matching socks. So ask yourself, "What are the odds?" If I had 14 days worth of laundry, I had close to 14 pairs of socks in the wash. So there was a 1 out of 28 chance that the one sock of mine that would fall was this particular fuzzy sock. I don't know how many socks Wendy was washing, but we'll pretend it was the same. But the odds get multiplicatively higher pretty fast when you start calculating the odds that we would each drop something at the same time and the one sock would be among the 3 articles dropped. Add to that the chance that we were both loading dryers at the same time and had dryers next to each other. All in all, it was a pretty comical, as well as highly improbable, moment.

1 comment:

kathryn said...

While still highly improbable, it's about twice as probable as you imagine, given that you had 2 out of 28 chance that one of your two cute fuzzy socks would fall out. I had an awesome 4th grade math teacher!

What a fun thing to spice up a few hours at the laundromat! I agree, I still smile and am thankful every time I do laundry in my PJs.