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!


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.