Eleven: Why does no-one shut the door?

19:17, May 02 2014
Beck Eleven
Beck Eleven

It's cold in Wal's. It's a Monday night, it's 9pm and someone left the door open. Wal's, I have been forced to discover, is my local laundrette.

It can get pretty busy in Wal's but tonight it's just me and some other guy. We talk briefly about the weather. After all, weather is what drives us here. We, the people without dryers.

We, the people without dryers, gather in such places as Wal's when the weather is grim and the forecast wretched.

People wander in and out but for some reason we all leave the door open tonight. I don't know why. Wal's, like all the laundrettes I've ever graced, is unmanned.

There is no-one telling us what to do. We should be able to open or close the door at will but the door was open when we arrived and so for reasons known only to the gods, it remains open.

You'd think there would be a resigned camaraderie among we the people without dryers, but we don't talk much.


Perhaps it is because we are literally airing our dirty laundry in public. I look up and catch a glimpse of my green dress perform a lap.

Wal's has six washing machines but they are of no concern to me. I am here for one of its seven industrial-sized dryers, labelled Dryer A to Dryer G.

The dryers are exacting beasts. They refuse to take anything other than $1 coins.

Fortunately, I have discovered a bottomless supply of free money in the bedside drawer on the far side of my bed.

My boyfriend, a man of fastidious routine, nightly empties his pockets of loose change. He does not count it. He also does not view it as free money.

It pays for the coin-operated car wash on Blenheim Rd and now it pays for Wal's on Warrington St. There is a bar called Schroeders next to Wal's. It has pokies. I'm wondering if I might turn my free money into more free money on another cold evening.

I have no qualms using as much of the free money as Dryer B needs this evening because I'm not convinced my boyfriend is entirely continent.

He's been away for two weeks and only now can I confidently say I have washed and dried the last of his boxer shorts.

A woman walks into Wal's.

She must be made of strong stuff because she laughs in the face of our stupid mob mentality and closes the door behind her. With three dryers running, Wal's will surely warm up soon.

We briefly discuss the weather, this new woman and I. She says how nice it feels to reach the bottom of her washing pile.

We all agree. We, the people without dryers.

I like Wal's. I appreciate that it exists but I find laundrettes to be generally depressing places. They all look the same.

There is always a bag of stray socks and lost items that no-one ever looks through. There are always a billion community notices and posters of upcoming events and there are always people politely avoiding speaking about anything other than bad weather.

We sit together but alone on the benches provided and silently acknowledge our clothes - the smalls and the bigs - flopping around in full view.

Still, I have managed to fit two washing loads and a duvet cover into a single dryer. It takes less than an hour and it will have cost me nothing. Well, it will probably cost me a dull but brief lecture on stealing and the economics of the bedside drawer.

Dryer B has done its job. Wal's has a large Formica table, salmon in colour, and my final job is to heave out the clothes onto the salmon table and fold them into my blue plastic washing basket.

The basket is piled high and I can still feel the warmth from the clothing as I carry the basket out of Wal's.

I close the door behind me.

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