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One of my biggest complaints now that I’m a grownup is that grownups don’t act as grown up as I was led to believe they are.  This may be because I’m in a female-dominated profession and women can bring the crazy like no other, but I think I just may have been duped or deluded for most of my youth.  I thought that there was a certain point where you just grow up.  You start wearing a suit to work, disciplining children (not even just your own), buying property, and the wisdom acquired from doing those things made you a thoughtful and reasonable person.

I’m finding that that is not the case at all, and now I’m mad at grownups in general.

Of course, this blog is not entitled I’m mad at grownups, it’s entitled Why I’m a hypocrite (see above).  I’m a hypocrite because for all of my bitching to any poor sucker who happens to be within earshot about how lame and immature adults are (and how that’s the opposite of adult); I’m currently embroiled in a cold war with the woman who lives one floor above me about our shared laundry space.

The scenario:

Mr. and Mrs. Upstairs are subletting the apartment on the 3rd floor while my landlord is off on sabbatical.  Mr. and Mrs. Upstairs are from London and are unfailingly polite/ slightly condescending in that way that only English people can be.  Initially, Gentleman Scholar and I wanted to please them desperately and show them, somehow, that we too drink copious amounts of tea and have opinions about biscuits, but we haven’t managed to succeed at this, and it’s time we call it a wash.

When Gentleman Scholar and I moved into our apartment two years ago, the only other person living in the building was Elderly Neighbor.  Elderly Neighbor sends his laundry out, so we had the washer and dryer in the basement to ourselves.  We were told by our former landlady, that the dryer runs off of the  2nd floor’s (our) electricity.  To make it fair for everyone to use the laundry, the other tenants would leave $1 for each tumble for the 2nd floor people to take.  Works for me.

When landlord (new landlord) sent us an email detailing his exotic sabbatical trip and giving us some info on our new subletting neighbors, he included the line “I told them about the washing machine.” This made no sense to me, so I ignored it, and continued to ignore it until Mrs. Upstairs came knocking on my door one afternoon asking why I plugged the washing machine into 3rd floor’s outlet.

I blinked at her like a moron until she explained that we were supposed to plug the washer into our outlet (neatly labeled) when we were using it, and she would plug the washer into her outlet when she was using it.  So that’s what the line in the email meant.  Then I explained to her about the issue with the dryer, and I thought we were fast friends.

Then her husband started leaving the back door to the building unlocked and sometimes wide open, on more occasions than I can count.  I never see him, so I mentioned to Mrs. Upstairs that while we live in a safe-ish neighborhood, we also live in a neighborhood with a lot of burglary, and I’ve already been robbed–didn’t like it.  She was contrite, I felt like a total Hall Monitor, but her husband continued to not lock the door.  I then emailed landlord who was in a Chinese hospital with dengue fever, and he said he’d email then with a gentle reminder.

After that, it was just one tiny thing after another.  These are mostly petty grievances that I feel like a crazy person bringing up, but that really irk me nonetheless.

  1. Mrs. Upstairs does a ton of laundry, and only puts a dollar in for the dryer for about every four tumbles.
  2. They only dig out their own car in the winter and didn’t help with any of the common areas or the sidewalk.  There was actually an exact line where they dug their car out just enough so they could leave.  We dug out my car and that of Elderly Neighbor, and shoveled the sidewalks.
  3. They keep shutting off the lightswitch to the outside motion sensor light, so when I come home from work at 10:30, I have to fumble for my keys in the dark.
  4. They piled a bunch of baby accessories up against our storage space door, then when we moved it out of the way, they put it back.
  5. They left a length of hose lying in the middle of the basement floor for a week, and then set it on my treadmill (that’s just baffling–we have no yard).

I’m sure they have plenty of stuff to be irked with us about too, but now my big grievance is that Mrs. Upstairs has started, inexplicably, using my laundry soap.

I noticed this the other day because the cap on mine was missing.  For some reason, she apparently fills the cap with soap and throws that in the wash with the clothes.  I took her clothes out of the washer to put in mine, and replaced the cap.  Later on that day, cap was off again and this time is lying on the dirty floor.  Afer consulting with Jewish Friend, I decided not to knock on Mrs. Upstair’s door and ask why she’s using my soap, but instead secreted it away in our storage space.

I’m contemplating leaving a passive-aggressive post-it on the outside light that they keep turning off, but I’m not sure how far I want to take this.  With each further action, I hate myself a little more.  When I was hiding the laundry soap away in the storage space, all I could think was “Why am I doing this? Who does this!?!?”  But it’s my soap!  If she needed to use some, she should have asked!

Maybe I’m spending too much time at home?  Maybe the rules of libraryland have started to affect my downtime, or maybe you just shouldn’t help yourself to other peoples’ laundry soap and then leave the cap on the ground.

Addendum: Turns out satire once again nails it.

If I need clean socks; it will take about two days– three if I need a towel, but it probably won’t smell good.  Why am I saying these things?  Because the dryer broke again, and landlady (who apparently STILL doesn’t wash any clothes–I swear, it’s been three months or more), seems unconcerned.

After the religious repairman left, the dryer worked like a dream.  It dried more efficiently than before, made half as much noise, and brought me more joy than I thought possible.

Then it stopped tumbling.

It makes sounds like it’s working, but will not tumble.  This noise fake-out let me leave laundry in there for 36 hours before I realized that it shouldn’t take that many cycles to dry my running clothes, which are designed to dry quickly.  I emailed landlady and told her this– no response.  Two days ago, I re-emailed her and asked again– no response.

Also, it has rained every single day for the last two weeks, so my plan of wash and air dry will not work, it will just result in moldy clothes.  With the current level of humidity, it takes my hair 3+ hours to dry, I’m not taking chances with my towels.

I’m ready to move– officially.

I pay my landlady $15 a month to use the washer and dryer she has in the basement.  Even though these machines are probably older than I am, they usually work well, and I don’t have to go to the rather scary laundromat a few blocks away.  The dryer is quirky in that after you tumble one load of clothes (usually it takes two cycles to get things dry, three if it’s towels), you have to wait for a bit to let the machine cool down before it will work again.

If it’s not cooled down, pushing the start button will just make a sickly groaning noise that sounds a little like a cat warning you to get away.  Usually, it only takes about twenty minutes to cool down, so it’s not a major hassle, just a slight inconvenience.  Except this most recent time when I did laundry and the thing just would not work at all.

I had a full load of clothes washed, put them in the dryer and tumbled for one cycle.  By the end of that, this stuff was barely dry at all, so I pushed the button for another tumble– angry cat noise. 

I waited an hour– angry cat noise. 

I took the wet clothes out and left the door open– angry cat noise.

I unplugged it, and let it sit overnight with the door open– angry cat noise, and an email from landlady asking why her dryer is unplugged.

By this point, I just draped all of the wet clothes over various pieces of furniture and let them air dry, then I emailed landlady again and asked if she had any advice as to how to make the machine work.  She said she had decided to replace it, but was waiting for a good delivery time.

That was two weeks ago.

We are the only two people who live in this building, and I know for a fact that she has not done laundry in at least a month.  She washed a small load a month ago, and hasn’t even taken to washing and air drying things like I’ve had to. 

What the hell is this woman wearing?

My bedroom is presently a mess of dirty clothes strewn about the floor waiting for the new dryer to arrive so I can tumble and fluff after drying.  My couch/chairs/rustic stove/treadmill are covered with drying towels, underwear, and shirts.  Does she just have a lot more clothes than me, or what?

I hate to sound like a crazy person who constantly spies on her landlady, but I really have no idea how she occupies her time, or how she can get away with doing laundry so infrequently.

After she gets home from work around 5pmish, she goes into her apartment, turns on music, and doesn’t leave the house.  Except for the occasional trip to the Philippines for work, she never leaves the house.  She used to bike a lot, but got into an accident last summer, and now just stays home all the time.  She pays for cable, but I never hear the tv, just the constant music (usually good music, she has good taste).  She’s a very slow responder to email, so I feel like she’s not internetting all the time– I can only assume that she reads, or has some hobby that I’ve never heard of.  Perhaps she’s writing the Great American Novel. 

I just can’t figure it out, but I think the dryer got delivered this morning before I went to work– I hope so.