Welcome to Adventures at the Creepermat!

I started this blog because I constantly find myself being amused, disgusted, or simply baffled by the things that occur while I am situated at the laundromat.

I'm sure you're wondering why the heck I call it the Creepermat. A few of my friends and I refer to weird people as Creepers. Laundromats seem to be a haven for the weird, the destitute, and the generally entertaining to watch.

I've been doing laundry in public laundromats since I moved out on my own in 2004. I used to loathe it and put it off for as long as I could, often going nearly a month without doing laundry. The past year, though, I've realized what a gold mine of observations I've come up with during just about every laundromat experience, and I've finally motivated myself to kick the procrastination and start a damn blog about it already.

I live in the Ohio Valley; the nearest small towns, and the ones where I usually end up with my 6 baskets of pee-stained kid sheets, grease-smelling Garfield's uniforms, and 79 pairs of underwear, are St Clairsville OH and Wheeling WV. The nearest large city is Pittsburgh, which is over an hour away. I'm sure that information alone is enough to allude to the types of people I encounter on these adventures. I am at the top of Appalachia, before you venture into Wrong Turn territory. Rednecks and the general span of low to lower middle class folks are my usual company.

Enjoy, and be sure to leave comments and feedback for me!


May 31, 2010


Life has happened and I've had to put my blog on hold for the moment, but don't worry, kids; the Creepermat will be there waiting for me, and I'll pay it a visit soon.

Apr 13, 2010


After a few weeks of not being able to afford to go to a public laundromat to wash the 12 loads that have piled up in my bedroom, I finally got a chance to take a couple of loads in yesterday. I had my (almost) 3 year old son with me, so I didn't figure I was going to be able to do much observing since my eyes would be attached to his constantly moving little body making sure he didn't break something or run out the door.

My initial entrance proved disappointing, as the only occupants were a few empty baskets parked next to a few running washers. This meant that people were in and out, though, so it was a glimmer of hope. I put my stuff in the washer and took the kid for a short walk around the block.

Upon my return, my clothes had 11 more minutes of having water and Gain beaten into them, so I parked myself on one of the chairs while the kid walked circles around the folding table finding "clues" and writing them down in his "handy dandy notebook."

He came over to me and wanted to sit in the chair where I was sitting, so I moved. He sat down, got up, then wanted the chair I moved to. This game of musical chairs continued until a guy walked in looking like he just stepped out of a time machine from the 70s, lude addiction and all. He had frazzled, wavy, chin-length dirty blond hair and was tall and very thin. He walked with an awkward gait, his tiny frame barely able to hold up his vintage-y dress pants. He wore an ill-fitting long-sleeve shirt and a pair of rose-colored shades, completing the acid-flashback look with a pair of old man loafers. Apparently he wasn't wearing underwear, because I saw his crack every time he walked by. I tried snapping a photo, but my camera on my current phone was too noisy, and he turned after I snapped one; it turned out blurry because I shifted myself so that it looked like I was taking a photo of my son.

A few women came in to put their clothes in dryers. The kid and I went back to musical chairs for a few minutes, then I put my clothes in the dryer and decided to take the kid to the park for the 45 minutes it was going to take for them to dry. As I walked outside, I saw 70s dude sitting in an 80s model Camaro. I figured he was confused about what time period he wanted to represent.

When I came back, gathered my clothes, and stuck them in the car with the kid, 70s dude was leaving as well. He flung his basket of wet clothes in his passenger seat, jumped in his car, turned it on, and out blared......techno music? I was expecting Simon and Garfunkel or The Doors. Weirdest guy ever.

I need to start charging my digital camera so that I can take noiseless photos for your enjoyment...and mine.

Mar 20, 2010

Creepy owners?

Pulling up to the Creepermat to an empty parking lot was a huge disappointment. Before this blog, I would have relished the quiet and engrossed myself in a book; but you wouldn't have much to read if I did that now, so I always hope for at least a little bit of company.

I got inside with my 3 loads and noticed that someone had clothes in one of the industrial dryers. I live in such a small area that it's really alright for you to leave your clothes at the laundromat. I do it a lot myself without a single worry about coming back and my clothes being gone or vandalized or worn by some other weirdo.

I decided to get myself a snack; a bottle of water and a bag of Sun Chips sounded pretty satisfying. The water came out no problem, but the snack machine was giving me grief. My bag of Sun Chips got stuck right above the door flap. I watched a guy go through a window on one of those machines trying to rock it to get his bag, so I didn't want to take that route. Thankfully, the owner/manager lady showed up. She asked me what happened, and I told her it got stuck. She shook it a few times then went to her car to get money to try to get another bag to push it down. Right when she came back, the bag fell. I thanked her for her attempt at helping, and she mumbled something about not liking Sun Chips.

Then, she just...kept mumbling. For about 15 minutes she paced back and forth across the 'mat, mumbling to herself, checking washers and dryers to make sure no one left any clothes behind. I couldn't understand what she was saying, but it sounded like a lot of grumbling and complaining.

During my lonely visit, 5 different cars pulled into the lot, parked, sat for a few minutes, then left without getting out or meeting anyone. I suspected drug deals, but no one ever approached any of the parked vehicles. My guess is either a lot of people needed to pull over to make phone calls, or some drug dealer stood a bunch of people up.

While I was loading my clothes into a dryer, the lay whose clothes were in the dryer when I got there returned to retrieve her garments. As I mentioned before, this is a really small area with a relatively low crime rate. The laundromat was empty other than me, and the parking is directly in front of the building with only a sidewalk separating the spaces from the entrance. This woman got out of her SUV and locked it before coming into the 'mat. She spent a grand total of 3 minutes gathering her clothes (yes, I did keep track) then walked right back outside and had to spend about another minute fiddling with her keys to get her doors unlocked again. Pointless, if you ask me, but this is coming from the girl who rarely ever locks her doors unless she's in a big city or plans on being away from her car for at least a full work shift. Hell, I leave my doors and trunk open while I'm in the laundromat gathering my stuff when I;m finished so that I can just walk outside and throw everything in without a fuss. People are way too paranoid.

The only leftover clothes the owner lady found were these:


Displeased with my uneventful night, I went home and put everything away. Maybe next time will be a little more noteworthy.

Mar 10, 2010

Creepers are creepy.

The Creepermat truly lived up to my affectionate nickname whatever day I did laundry. I don't even remember, but it was a few days ago. There were 6 cars in the lot. I used the left side of the 'mat because the right side was overpopulated with a herd of creepers. Five very weird looking guys stationed at various areas on the right side all stared at me as I walked in. Two of them continued to stare at me the entire time I was in the laundromat; the same two had their faces smashed up to the door as I was walking in. There wasn't anything interesting going on outside, so I really have no clue what they were doing.

One in particular really weirded me out; he gawked openly, completely unashamed. I felt it, and I could usually see him in my peripheral vision. He was wearing a Harley Davidson hat, gray sweater, and dirty jeans with mud-crusted work boots; most of the others were in around the same attire. He was 40ish, weathered, with leathery skin from years of construction work. Blond hair and mustache.

He watched me put all of my laundry in the washers. I dropped a quarter in one of the washers. He said "You tryin' to launder money?" and snickered like he was incredibly clever. I suppressed a rude comment, gave a short smile and awkward laugh, and walked away.

There was one older lady; she was occupying the left side with me, but she didn't look very friendly so I didn't try to make conversation. I brought in food from Burger King, but I don't like people watching me eat. Every single creeper in the 'mat had their eyes locked on me, so I quickly shoveled my burger and didn't bother with the fries. They were gawking at me like "Thou shalt not consume food whilst in a public laundry" were one of the 10 commandments.

I spent most of this visit staring down at my book, trying not to be severely creeped out by the five men watching me like I were on stage at a strip club. I made sure to hold my book so that the cover could be seen. I was reading a book about serial killers. I wish it had creeped them out, but creepers aren't called creepers because THEY get weirded out, but because they weird YOU out, so this obviously failed. If anything, it probably got their tongues wagging even more. Creepy.

Feb 27, 2010

Six hyper children = worst day ever.

I ventured out to the Creepermat yesterday mostly to wash the man's work clothes and my interview attire. I had a job interview scheduled for 3:30 at a discount clothing store; even though I'd already gotten an offer from a big retail giant, I hadn't gotten the final call to set up my orientation, so I had an interview set up at the other place as a backup plan.

Apparently yesterday was the day for grouchy women with two unruly children to want to do their laundry. Babysitters must take Fridays off. I got my laundry in the washers, only two loads this time, and sat down to start observing, only to realize that I'd forgotten my notebook. I searched around in my purse, which normally contains so many things that I could probably save a human life or disarm a bomb, and found not even the tiniest scrap of blank paper. I went out to my car and found a few hospital bills that I couldn't write on and a piece of junk mail about life insurance. I chose that, figuring the papers inside would be blank on the back. Wrong. I ended up using the back of the envelope to take my notes. Trying to decipher my tiny chicken scratch is almost humorous.

I sat in the end chair on the right, leaving room for one of the many moms or their heathens to sit down if need be. The tall woman directly in front of me using the expensive double load washers was lecturing her kids. "You guys need to start pickin' your clothes up off the floor so the dog don't sleep on 'em." Her kids couldn't have been much older than 3, 4 possibly 5 at the oldest. A blond woman with two kids arrived shortly after this lecture; she nearly slipped as she came in with her bundles. Her furry boots apparently had no tread. It would have been funny to see her fall, but I didn't get that lucky.

A large woman, also with two kids, sat on the other side of the 'mat on the window ledge. I don't know how she fit, but she did. Her kids, who looked to be about 8 and 12, were the ones actually doing the laundry while she sat back barking orders and bitching when they poured in too much detergent or dropped a clean sock on the dirty floor. The younger kid was wearing a pair of pants that completely ate his shoes, if he was even wearing any. I couldn't tell you either way.

Two older gentlemen had every one of the 14 smaller dryers on the right side of the 'mat running, each with only two or three items tumbling around. Nearly everything they had was white.

The blond lady's kids were running circles around the 'mat for most of the visit; she paid absolutely no attention to them. The younger kid kept running over to the gumball machine and staring inside intently, probably foaming at the mouth. I watched him walk over to her neat little $1 stacks of quarters and take one. There was enough yelling going on with the other two women screaming at their demon children; not wanting to hear yet another voice harmonizing with the rest of the chastising, I slid a stack of my own quarters into her collection. No one saw, and obviously the kid didn't even give it a second thought because he never bothered to return to the stacks to try to hide what he did.

The tall lady pulled a list out of her pocket; I wasn't hovering over her shoulder reading it, but my guess is it was a list of phone calls she needed to make, because she proceeded to pull out a stack of papers and making call after call. I could probably give you enough information about this woman for you to steal her identity; I guess it's a good thing I'm not that ignorant. I heard (and could have written down if I wanted to, considering how many phone calls she made) her full name, address, phone number, last 4 digits of her social security number, and about 4 account numbers. If I would have devoted complete attention to her, I could have figured out who she was calling each time, because she did not speak quietly. I was surprised that there are still people who are that careless with such sensitive information. The laundromat doesn't seem like the greatest place to make important phone calls, unless it's empty.

Annoyed with all of the disobedient children and careless parents, I was thankful when my dryer went off. I collected my clothes, gathered the rest of my things, and headed for the door. A cross-eyed girl was walking in as I was leaving. She looked at me and smiled...I think. I smiled back regardless and left to pick up my man.

Feb 13, 2010

Underwear Molestation: Normal?

I had one uneventful trip to the Creepermat, which made me sad. I went armed with my nice journal and a good pen and came out empty handed. It's a good thing I decided to go again two days later, because something happened that made me ponder what planet I was on for a moment.

It was snowing fairly hard on this particular day, so I actually didn't expect there to be many people hanging out at the Creepermat. I was pleasantly surprised when I pulled into a lot with 6 cars filling the slushy spaces.

A large woman carrying a large basket followed me in the door, basically pushing me through as if she were scrambling to get to the washers before me.

I hauled my blankets and sheets inside, threw them into some washers, and sat down to begin my observations. There was an interesting collection of specimens occupying the space at the Creepermat this day.

Sitting in two of the four seats available to Creepermat patrons (which has always cracked me up, because you'd figure a Creepermat stocked with 33 washing machines, 16 dryers, and 6 industrial sized dryers located in an area where the next nearest Creepermat is a 20 minute drive would be a little more accommodating) were two whispering younger guys of the redneck variety.

The guy on the left, whose scowl looked to be permanently embedded into his features, kept glancing my way. A wiry man with a molestache and a hairline receded from years of trying to fight a trucker cap off of his head isn't exactly my type of fellow. Especially not one wearing straight leg jeans. And I'm not talking about those (nearly as hideous) in style variety that the scene kids wear; I'm talking about bought-from-Kmart Lee straight leg nuthuggers that only hillbillies, construction workers, and old moms wear.

His companion's shirt was the first thing to catch my eye as I looked him over; it was your standard oversized button-up blue work type shirt with an American flag sewed onto the right breast pocket. He had hair, so I doubt he wears hats.

A dark-skinned gentleman and a cute brunette, who I am going to assume was his girlfriend based on their interactions, occupied the soft water washing machines. Both, when not conversing with each other, looked very focused on getting their laundry done, like it was a mission handed down by an Army general.

A petite redhead decked out in a sweatsuit and crocs ventured in not long after I got my clothes in the washer. Nothing eventful happened for about a half hour.

Right as I was putting my things into one of the industrial dryers, Crocs girl approaches Cute Brunette. Cute Brunette is folding clothes and sorting them into stacks. Crocs girl picks up a pair of her panties, holds them up, and says "Wow, these are really cute! Where did you get them?" without looking offended, or disgusted, Cute Brunette replies "Oh I found them on this website online!" and they begin to discuss buying lingerie online.

I don't know what planet these girls are from, but if some stranger, no matter how cute or harmless, approached me and picked up a pair of my underwear, I wouldn't even give them a chance to speak before saying something to the effect of "What the fuck is wrong with you? PUT MY UNDERWEAR DOWN!" What is going through your mind when you walk up to a stranger and touch one of their most personal possessions without even asking? And it's UNDERWEAR. Underwear hang out by you crotch ALL DAY. I don't care if they were just washed or if they were washed 27 times in a row, there is just nothing right about that.

American Flag guy spent nearly the whole 45 minutes it took for his clothes to dry staring into the dryer, watching the clothes tumble. I was guessing he was either high or easily amused. Large lady put her clothes in a dryer that didn't work. I knew it didn't work, but I didn't tell her. She pushed me in the door, and I'm only a step above childish in the revenge department when I'm bored.

I collected my items from the dryer, packed up my things, and drove home pondering the 13 different things I would have said had that girl picked up MY underwear.

Feb 9, 2010

Feb 8th, Day of the Hippiecrack

Yesterday was not my day to venture outside my unbearably warm domicile; before going to the Creepermat I managed to slip on a patch of ice and scrape up my right arm/elbow/hand pretty badly, back into a parked car in my dark, icy parking lot 15 minutes later, then twist my ankle carrying the laundry back to my apartment once I returned. Nevertheless, I braved the blustery winds and feet-high piles of snow to make sure my boyfriend had a clean uniform to wear to work today.

I decided to enlist an accomplice on this particular night, which ended up being my cousin Beth. As we pulled into the Creepermat in St. Clairsville, both of us were immediately drawn to the far right side of the building. Now, as with most Creepermats, the front of this one is entirely windows. I'm guessing this is so that the owner, who probably lives across the street, can watch the place to make sure no one....kicks the machines? What else can you really do to a laundromat? Anyway...

Both of our eyes are fixated on the long, hairy buttcrack, obviously male. We looked at each other, laughed, and gathered the laundry. We decided to take over the same side of the Creepermat as the Hippiecrack guy, since he was the most interesting person available. The only other inhabitants were a tall, rotund, rough-looking fellow in an orange trucker hat, plaid flannel shirt, torn up work jeans, and mud-caked boots; a short, round lady with a few unruly kids running circles around their side of the Creepermat, and a young, blond girl whose eyes darted anxiously around the room the entire time she was there.

We got the laundry in, sat down, and glanced over at Hippiecrack guy. He was scraggly, with longish blond hair, a ratty band/concert shirt, and jeans that were hanging way too low...

I wish I'd have been sitting another foot to the right, because I would have had the perfect view to this beautiful sight. How did he NOT feel that breeze? All of his clothes were tumbling around in dryers low to the ground, so every time one of his dryers emitted the high-pitched-yet-still-too-low beep signaling the OK for the safe removal of his garments, we were graced with this hilarious sight, although much more noticeable.

Sadly, this was the only eventful part of last night's Creepermat adventure.