Red flags in the laundry room

No, not colored fabrics spinning in the washer.

Yesterday I did laundry.

Before you say “sounds as exciting as watching paint dry,” lemme explain.

Doing laundry at my apartment complex is dodgy.

There are 4 washers and 6 dryers (both coin-operated) for some 150+ residents. It’s a dicey proposition. Will a machine be available? Will it work? Will the coins feed in properly?

Recently one washer sat out of commission for weeks when the water failed to drain. It’d been emptied of its clothes but the stench of dirty sitting water is one I can’t scrub from memory.

I and I alone had the helpfulness and common sense to tape a large note onto the machine alerting management and fellow residents to the problem.

There sat the note sat like the standing cesspool water for weeks until annual building inspections forced the repair. It’s back in operation. For now.

Also, the laundry room’s a bit grimey — ironically.

It’s not only large lint blobs scraped off dryer lint screens scurrying across the floor like gray rodents — why people won’t dispose of them in the large trash can provided is anyone’s guess but mine’s “sheer laziness.”

It’s the black, white and gray crap resembling pellets, pebbles and droppings that are best left unidentified fallen from the ceiling vent onto the machines and countertop.

And the linoleum tiles — white, originally anyhow — could stand being replaced. Or at least deep-cleaned. Which I reckon the laundry room’s not seen in 10+ years.

Lastly, the laundry room borders an extended-stay motel with some pretty. sketchy. characters. Location, location, location — not a favorable one.

Soooo. While I’m certainly glad not to have to haul my laundry to a public laundromat, I do use the machines downstairs with heightened awareness and sometimes nose plugged for unpleasant odors.

Yesterday mid-afternoon I arrived with my bag — nowhere near Santa’s size! — for the washer. Two residents — a couple in their 20s — stood at the dryers.

Immediately the dude — a friendly chatty fellow — announced:

“We just had our clothes stolen.”

“What?” I asked for details.

All his girlfriend’s clothes had just been taken from the dryer. While the machine was still operating.

So not even after the load had settled so the thief could pick ‘n’ choose — not that that makes this any less wrong! You’re adults so hopefully I needn’t inform you that stealing women’s intimates from dryers is a thing.

But this was the whole shebang. Whooosh. Stolen in mid-cycle.

She was noticeably and understandably upset and off to the management office to report it.

(Not that that would change anything. There are no cameras anywhere on the property, the laundry room’s open 24/7 to all residents and anyone passing by, including nefarious characters about the hood …)

While she was at the office, the dude and I continued chatting. He “regaled” me with further headlines.

A few days earlier, a woman in the parking lot had her car stolen at knifepoint.

Around 2 a.m., the dude was awakened by a woman screaming. He ran out to help. Police arrived. Whether she’ll ever see her SUV again … sigh. This is Phoenix (AZ). Armpit of the Southwest. Poor girl.

Crime is not uncommon, particularly in my area. Yes, I live in a bit of a ghetto. It’s not Gangland Compton (CA) with bullets flying but it’s not safe either. Diligence and eyes and ears wide open at all times are essential. This is true in life generally but amped-up attentiveness is critical here.

The dude in the laundry room wasn’t done.

His girlfriend also had an Amazon delivery stolen.

Someone else had signed for it and off they went! Dude didn’t provide details (though I pressed) so I can’t comment — save to say that, like her laundry, that theft too was wrong.

To recount: Stolen Amazon delivery. Car stolen at knifepoint. Full load stolen from the dryer.

All within the past 5 days.

I took the red flags about the laundry-room incident to heart. I didn’t let my load sit in the washer for even 1 minute! I arrived early just to stand and wait for the cycle to complete.

As for the dryer, it’s moot. I line-dry on my 3rd-floor balcony.

And you BET I insisted on the uppermost floor for a reason when I moved in 10 months ago! S-A-F-E-T-Y.

I appreciated the red flags waved by the dude in the laundry room.

I appreciate that he has a brain, which is very atypical in this Snowflakes generation. (His girlfriend, on the other hand, seemed not so much …)

I appreciate that he imparted information helpful to me and any resident. Again, not a typical Snowflake move. This I attribute to his profession (law enforcement).

As a natural detective (and would-be investigator if I could do life over again), I really appreciated that we met. It made my afternoon.

I returned to my little studio with more than my laundry load intact — for which I’m grateful on the heels of that theft within the hour.

I returned with a reminder that my living environment needs an upgrade.

And this is part ‘n’ parcel to the BIGGEST demand facing me in 2020: a relocation that’s certain to be cross-country.

Uggggh, the weightiness of it all. I’m Atlas shouldering 10 globes on my back.

BUT! At least I still got a shirt on my back! One that I give freely to no one unless I deem so …. and certainly to no thief.





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