It is no wonder why many films and series have been set in the context of a laundromat. There is something poetic about them. All kinds of people convene in this pristine environment with the same purpose of cleansing every day’s dirt. Whilst the cycles are running inside the washing machines, the natural cycles of life also unfold outside of them. In this flow, there are things that we can control, and things we cannot. Some things come our way that we cannot predict, like a random encounter with a colleague who loves to talk in monologues at the laundromat. Conversely, there are certain measures we can take that will save us from inconveniences – like choosing a different time to do laundry to avoid running into them again. In any case, in life and at the laundromat, it all depends on our approach. We might leave the place not only with our clothes clean and fragrant but also with a great story to tell, perhaps resembling that of a blockbuster.
A very common tragedy in the laundry world is when clothes shrink. It is important to select the right water temperature recommended for the garments we are washing. Our favorite shirt could end up only fitting our chihuahua. In the movie Wayne’s World 2, directed by Stephen Surjik and released in 1993, one of the characters named Garth meets an attractive woman in the laundromat. After some conversation, she asks whether he would like to have dinner one night and he replies that he likes having dinner every night. Before laughing at him, please consider all the times you have missed a hint. It looks as though he will waste the opportunity, especially when he takes his clothes out of the washing machine and realizes that they have been reduced to extra extra extra small. Despite this embarrassing incident, he does manage to take the lady out on a date.
In the legendary show Friends, we meet the endearing characters Ross and Rachel who undergo an intermittent romance throughout the whole ten seasons. In the fifth episode of the first season they meet at a laundromat where Ross educates the inexperienced Rachel in laundry business. He explains the importance of sorting her clothes correctly to prevent colors from bleeding onto other fabrics. Great advise. However, there is always the risk of sneaky color pants mysteriously jumping into the load of white clothes and dying everything pink. The disappointed Rachel, as she contemplates her pinkish clothes, complains that they all look like pajamas. Remember, it all depends on your approach – in the optimistic eyes of her friend Phoebe, the accident was a blessing in disguise: now all her clothes are easier to combine!
Be mindful that not every garment can go into the washing machine. Some delicate fabrics require to be washed by hand with cold water. That way they will hold their shape and last longer, and their color will not fade too quickly. In Spider-Man 2 (2004), Peter Parker goes to a laundromat. Since he is very busy saving the city from evil villains, he cannot take the time to hand-wash his Spider-Man suit and thus drops it into the machine. He is so concerned with the risk of revealing his identity that he does not realize he is actually facing a major threat: the suit is not suitable for washing machines! The colors fade and the costume no longer looks so impressive. Although his alter ego’s strength does not rely on his outfit, it does add punch to have it in neat conditions.
it is important to acknowledge that the laundromat cannot be held responsible for any valuables left unattended in the premises or inside the laundry bag. The American sitcom television series created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, called Seinfeld and aired for the first time in July 1989, teaches that lesson in its usual witty way. The titular character, in the episode “The Revenge” in the second season, accidentally leaves an envelope with money among his laundry. The manager, when interrogated, points out to the sign which clearly states Not responsible for valuables. Kramer, Seinfeld’s clownish neighbor, believes his friend has been wronged and thus deserves vengeance. In his classic exaggerated manners he takes revenge too far and fills up a washing machine with cement. In the end, it turns out that the money was in Kramer’s laundry bag. Though it is found, it is immediately lost again as it all goes towards repairing the washing machine they irresponsibly broke.
In the field of clowns the undisputed king is the British character Mr Bean. Rowan Atkinson impersonates a hilarious infantile man who confronts everyday tasks in very peculiar ways. Of course, he also goes to the launderette, and his experience presents us with many lessons in what not to do. He takes off his underwear in situ, mistakenly grabs a woman’s skirt instead of his own pants, he grates a hand soap into the detergent drawer in order to save money in laundry liquid. All big no-no’s in the laundry world. When it comes to selecting the right detergent, going for the cheapest option is not always the best strategy. Have in mind that powdered detergents not always dissolve correctly in cold water, liquid detergents usually work better for treating stains, and though eco-friendly alternatives might be more pricey, they have the added value of not damaging our environment. Whatever you do, do not follow Mr Bean’s example – he interchanges someone’s fabric softener with coffee!
Everything is possible in the world of launderettes. Stories unfold to the rhythm of the fluttering dryers. Clothes dancing in a purifying whirlwind are a metaphor of ourselves, or our favorite characters, swirling in the emotional roller-coaster that is life. We all do our best – the more conscious we are, the better our lives (and our washing) will turn out. We hope that our laundromat will be your chosen scenario for some of the stories that will mark your life. Perhaps you could buy someone a soft drink in the vending machine, as in one of the most romantic scenes on film: Brick, the sweetest character in the comedy Anchorman 2, takes the love of his life on a date to a launderette. While drinking sodas, they discover that they are soulmates in one of the funniest gags of the movie. Take your chances! See you at Sudz on Mound laundry.