It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and it definitely wasn't the laziest of times. For on that particular blizzardy afternoon, it was time for Kimberly Anne Ivany to take her place on the front lines.
Yes, the infamous Laundry Day had arrived.
I know what you're thinking. "Kimberly, you've been in Denmark for 3 weeks. How have you not cleaned your clothes yet?"
NOW NOW, dont' judge me. There are 2 reasons for this 28-day delay.
- I got a lot of underwear for Christmas.
- The thought of putting my wardrobe through a foreign soapy abyss is simply frightening.
When it comes to washing machines, automatic checkouts at Metro, gas pumps (especially) or any other type of machine that requires man-to-machine communication, I tend to experience a unnecessary amount of anxiety.
I really don't know why, but my mind always just goes to the worst possible scenario. For example (despite how unusual it may seem), I have a fear of filling up the car with gas because I think I'll pump for too long, cause a gas spill, and set my car on fire.
Or in the case of automatic checkouts at grocery stores, I think I'll press the wrong button, causing the thing to beep loudly and obnoxiously, and in turn cause my face to turn as red as the cherry tomatoes I am so desperately trying to purchase in peace.
But on Sunday, the clean pile of undies in my closet came to an end, and with it, the end of my procrastination.
I awoke at the hour of 10:30, one hour before go-time. It was planned that I would meet Marieke at 11:30, since she had already battled it out with the Danish contraption the week before. Indeed, I was heading into a warzone, so I was thankful to have a veteran with me. There was still hope.
As the hour of truth approached, I filled my empty IKEA bag with the Darks. Shirts, sheets and socks, all sitting there in the large tarp-like bag, staring up at me, pleading softly "KEEP US SAFE."
I took a deep breath.
"I will," I said, trying hard to calm my nerves so as not to scare them too. "I will."
I put on my coat, stepped into my boots, grabbed my weapons:
- My laundry card
- My room keys
The snow stung my face like little flying pinpricks. The wind caused me to bury my neck into my coat like a disoriented turtle. It was me against the elements, the poor Darks lying helplessly in their bag on the way to meet their doom.
The white out we were trudging through was enough to make me want to give up. But there was no turning back.
100 impossibly brutal steps later, we made it to The Laundry Room. I reached into my pocket and used my black fob to unlock the chamber's heavy red door.
"NOW MOVE, MOVE, MOVE"
The room was empty. The air was silent, except for the hum of the Machines surrounding Marieke and I. We had to be on our guard. This was foreign territory and an explosion was just bound to happen at any moment.
We proceeded to Washing Machine No. 4, as it's door was wide open, taunting me with it's seemingly welcoming demeanor.
Then I did the unthinkable. I put the Darks into the small vaccuumed space in front of me, carefully, quickly, making sure not to miss one piece from the tarp bag.
I then poured the purple detergent on top of them and shut the door with immense fervour. I meant business.
Things were going according to plan...that is, until I looked at the little square screen on the Machine.
"ABORT ABORT ABORT"
I froze in absolute panic. I looked at Marieke. She too had a look of despair. A language block. The Machine knew how to fight back.
I had to act fast. The Darks were sealed tight inside it without water, in danger of being stained by the purple goo I had just drenched them with. In a great twist of fate, I began turning the big dial to the right of the screen.
"AS YOU ARE"
I had done it. English was found in the midst of Danish consonants. I could now understand the Machine's functions and thus have a better chance of defeating it.
I held my breath. I pressed more buttons. I touched the screen....
I pressed START.
"HOLD YOUR FIRE"
Water came into sight. The Machine whirred. The Darks started spinning. I looked at Marieke.
We had done it.
I went back to my house, the clock ticking away. All I could do now was wait.
45 minutes later, I forced myself to leave the safety of my own room. I had to go back to the battle grounds to retreive the Darks. Had they had survived almost an hour in that chaotic cyclone hole??? I could only hope.
I bolted the 100 steps to the scene.
I pushed open the large red door. I was good at that now.
I proceeded to Machine No. 4 and in a quick flash, I pressed the orange unlock button.
Sweet, sultry, savoury satisfaction.
I had to bypass the Drier until the next clothing battle, however. It was all too much. My nerves were shot.
I put the Darks back in the tarp bag and sped home through the snow for the second time, ne'er to return until the hour of uncleanliness came again.
I had done it. On that Sunday, I had overcame a deep fear, and consequently had a room full of sweet-smelling blue shirts and black socks. Since I had chosen to combat the Drier on a later occasion, I had to hang the Darks around my room to let them air dry. It was the least I could do. They had been through enough.
But it's with a sad eye and a heavy heart that I report that not everyone made it out untouched.
Lieutenant Leggings took a blow to the face. But the irony is is that it wasn't during the Battle of The Laundry Room. It was after, in the misleading serenity of hanging up to dry.
I smelled the smoke the minute I turned on the lamp...
Lieutenant, you've been burned. But your courage is inspiring.
May I keep your resilience in mind in my inevitable quests for clean freedom in the future.