In Case You Were Wondering

by Katie Sinclair | 5/8/14 3:46pm

In case you were wondering, the very first electric washing machine was called “Mighty Thor” and was manufactured by Hurley Electric Laundry Equipment Company in 1908. Though we now live in an age where you can track your laundry’s progress online, I still believe that “Mighty Thor” is one of the best product names ever. Washing machines were also a boon for whoever did the laundry back in the day: scrubbing clothes by hand was time-intensive and difficult. Even though we live in the modern era where doing laundry means putting your clothes in the machine, pressing a button and returning in 45 minutes, people still manage to mess up. Because I have limited time left, I am quickly running out of things to complain about. But before we seniors leave forever, there are some words of wisdom that I need to pass on. In short, there is a right way and a wrong way to do laundry.

Of all the things I will miss about Dartmouth, the communal laundry services are not one of them. I don’t understand why people leave their nasty damp undergarments sitting in a washer for three hours. It takes approximately two minutes of your life to move things from the washer to the dryer. On the flip side, why do people take your wet clothes and throw them out on the counter the second after the cycle ends, even when all the dryers are occupied? I know you’re in a hurry, but you’re still going to have to wait for the person whose clothes you’ve thrown everywhere to run their dryer cycle. Unlike skinning a cat, there is one and only one correct way to do laundry, and that is the way I do it. Step one: find a convenient time when the washers you want are not in use. You can do this from the comfort of your dorm room using the magic of the Internet. Step two: put things in the washer. Step three: come back no sooner than 38 minutes and no later than 45 minutes after. Step 4: put things in the dryer, and reclaim them in an hour. It’s really that simple.

Despite the incompetence of others, I have done countless loads of laundry at Dartmouth. One of the upsides of braving the washing machines is that you get clean sheets out of the deal — which turn out to be the perfect costume for a toga party. Perhaps it was the nostalgia, or perhaps the vodka, (probably a little of both) but after semi was over, we decided that the best thing to do was to complete a circuit, because sometimes when you’re wearing a toga you’re just compelled to do certain things.

Generally, I have been more or less positive toward the Greek system, but on our adventures through frat row I came to a realization that some houses are definitely more welcoming to strangers wearing togas than others. Which is odd, because after going to several houses, I discovered that every place is more or less the same. Bored, preening girls sitting on the walls. Boys with the exact same haircut playing game after game of pong. This was both an epiphany and incredibly disorienting. I then realized that I was over being cool. Our journey through the subterranean lairs of the frat system was more or less uneventful. We entered, informed others of our mission, grabbed a beer and then left. That is, until we got to the last third of it, and people at a house-that-shall-remain-nameless were not receptive to our desire to complete our journey, which I did not quite understand, as the door was open and they were all playing pong, like every other house we entered.

“But we’re on a mission from God!” I declared. No one got the reference, proving that they were not only inhospitable but not well-versed in John Belushi movies. There are many ways to get people wearing togas out of your hair, if you seriously take offense at their presence. Screaming at them to get the eff out is probably not the best way to do it. You’d think that a place that takes its name from an Anglo-Saxon epic would show a bit more chivalry.

Despite minor setbacks, we completed our mission. Another thing crossed off the bucket list. Bonus points for the costume. Seeing the whole of Dartmouth’s evening entertainment, as opposed to just the usual houses that I hang out at, reminded me why I hang out where I hang out. I am not going to rise up and cry, “Abolish all fraternities! They spread alcoholism/sexism/plague!” There’s nothing wrong with getting along better with one group of people over another. But I am going to say, it’s not that hard to not be an asshole. Be nice to people. Don’t throw their wet laundry on the floor. (And also, don’t leave your wet laundry unattended for a gazillion hours.) When nostalgic seniors wearing (clean!) bed sheets knock on your door in the middle of the night on a mission, let them in, because even though they are not scantily clad freshmen, they may still be pretty cool. Because one day soon, that could be you.