Saturday, May 1, 2010

Spin Cycle

As we moved up the Suez Canal on our way to Alexandria yesterday, we passed dozens of places that had been the scenes of so many battles. From historic battles of Biblical days up to the Six Day War in the 1970s. On the Suez, we passed a war memorial in French to the defenders of the Canal in World War I. And today we are only a short distance from the pivotal battle of El Alamein.

But this post is about another battleground - the laundry room on the ship. There are more than 600 people on this ship for the 24-day cruise. The machines in the laundry room are free but there are only four washers and dryers. You can do the maths.

About 10 days into the cruise, most people ran out of t-shirts and underpants. Despite having paid thousands to have a great holiday on this ship, the thought of shelling out a couple of bucks more to have their laundry done was obviously repugnant. Throughout the course of the day, they wandered by the dozens to the laundry room, dirty clothes in hand and a desperate hope in their eyes that they would find a machine available.

Inside the very small room, there were baskets of clothes waiting for a washer, or post-wash waiting for a dryer and some even post-dry but waiting for ironing. Or worse, there were some that were dried but not yet picked up by someone who, no matter how many charitable acts they may have performed in their life, was now officially an inconsiderate moron who did not understand the needs of the other passengers.

But there are other, even worse, sins than leaving your dry clothes in the machine too long. A friend of ours found an empty washer, threw in some clothes and realized they could fit even more in. So - and this is key - without stopping the washer, they ran to their room, grabbed some more clothes and went back to the laundry and threw them in.

Instant criticism from the group in the laundry.

"You're not allowed to reserve washing machines," our friends were lectured when they brought the additional clothes. What is interesting about this is that our friends were not reserving a machine, but merely topping it up. Even more interesting, there are no rules governing the laundry room, but these twits had decided to start making them up on the spot and then, in an air of superiority, informing people they were violating the rules. I wasn't there, but you know they had to be British.

Then yesterday the Laundry Room Star Chamber struck at someone else. Only this time they made a serious mistake. They picked on LK.

Only regular readers of this blog know that her secret identity is The Launderer. But many more know that she occasionally lets twits know when they have exceeded their daily allotment of stupidity. I believe it all goes back to her childhood when she misheard her mother and thought she had said to never take criticism from strangers.

LK had found the laundry amazingly empty yesterday around noon, so she put a load in. Another washer became available about 15 minutes later and no one was there to use it, so she came back to the room and put a second load in. Those of you who know The Launderer Saga will not be surprised that she became a bit frenzied and kept upping the ante whenever another machine became available and no one had shown up to use it.

Toward the end of her run, she had two dryers going - one near the end and one early on. It was at this point that a man who had come into the laundry told her it was against the rules to have two dryers. You know, the rules that he heard from that voice that speaks to him when he is home alone.

LK ignored him on the first go-round. But about 15 minutes later she was checking to see if one of the loads was dry, and he began again. At this point, she looked at him, put her finger to her lips and said "Shhhh!" He started speaking; she shooshed him again. He got one more word out; she got one more Shhh! out.

He ignored her and kept on lecturing. Linda stopped saying Shh! and said instead, "Shut your big fat gob!"

He was apparently taken aback for a few seconds, but then started replying to her. But one words got out, and she was back with a much more emphatic, "I said to shut your big, fat gob!"

At which point he did.

Some of this amazes and surprises me. Some is totally predictable.

The amazing? LK did not use one cuss word.

The surprising? I didn't even know "gob" was part of LK's vocabulary. But well used in this instance!

The predictable? Of course the guy was British.

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