As every adult knows, doing laundry is a chore. There’s the loading and unloading, the pre-sorting and post-sorting, the folding, the vent cleaning, and the mess of detergent. But, doing laundry at Sunrise apartments in Keystone Colorado is an entirely different story.
After a week of watching my wardrobe dwindle into an ever growing heap, which had begun to resemble the surrounding landscape, this morning, I decided to take advantage of my first day off work, and tackle the chore.
The temperature was still in the teens as I walked the hundred or so paces toward the laundry room, but the warm mountain sun felt nice against my exposed face. Yesterday afternoon’s wet roads had turned to ice, that demanded concentration to traverse, but even still, the walk didn’t take more than a minute.
Fabric scented smoke billowed out an external vent against the red panelled laundry room, covered in snow. The room was empty, and the coin machine was working. I walked back toward my apartment to retrieve my clothes.
This time the ice was tricky, as I struggled to find my balance with a suitcase full of laundry at my side. Despite a few close calls, I again successfully made it to the “Downy” scented room.
After some stuffing, I managed to fit everything into one load, but just before closing the door, and pressing “start”, I realized that I had forgotten the detergent.
Back across the icy path I went, this time with urgency. I snatched a “pod” and turned toward the door, then ran into my roommate Michael. Hungover, and half asleep, Michael recapped his night, as I leaned toward the door.
The ice had begun to melt now, but in some parts that only made it more slick. I swung open the door to my laundry unit, and tossed in the “pod”.
Another hundred paces away from my apartment I walked, to a nearby convenience store. Coffee for me, and advil for Michael. I chatted with the clerk and then made my way back.
A few words and a few sips of my coffee. It was time to move my clothes to a dryer.
Having learned from my forgotten detergent I made sure to grab fabric softener before heading back across the ice. This time an old man sat at the end of the laundry room. We exchanged a pleasant hello, and then I loaded a dryer. I fumbled around in my pockets for one missing quarter, but I’d simply miscounted. One hundred more paces back.
Michael rustled in his bed, but I slipped out before he picked up our chat. The old man was gone, but someone else had taken his place. Mistaking him for someone in my new hire class, I sparked up a conversation. Despite a slight embarrassment at my mistake, the conversation was pleasant. I dropped the missing quarter into the machine and again traversed the now slush.
An hour of uninterrupted thought went by, and then I returned back to my clothes, ready to fold. But of course, my clothes were still damp. Another $1.50, and another hour. Now I’m here.
It’s 12:39 pm as I sit here now, with my folded, but still packed, laundry. It took three hours, and seven trips across the icy path that leads from my apartment to the laundry room. But much like the other components of this new mountain life, I found it to be less comfortable, but more rewarding. Whether it be riding the bus to work, learning a new job, spending my days in nature, or even doing laundry, the opportunities to interact with life on a daily basis are endless out here.
A stark contrast from my previous life, this new one is at times frustrating, uncomfortable, and even downright scary. But after just one week, I can already tell how rewarding it will be.