July 24, 2008KR BlogWriting

On Notes Left in the Laundry Room

The laundry room of my complex is covered in notes. While the notes are anonymously written, I’m certain they are the work of a single noteleaver. They are uniform in font and formatting, and singularly irksome.

For four years now I have been guided in my laundering by these suspiciously obvious instructions in the turning off of lights, the proper loading of driers. An anger lurks in typography:

The Heat is on in here so that the pipes do not freeze. And if they do there will be a large repair bill we will all have to pay for. So it is very simple

Shut the door as you leave.

It is not summer anymore.

The note is up year round. In summer months, the last line’s certainty sings with an ornery resilience.

There’s presence in these notes, a person in them and behind them. The notes always also say this: “I am one of your neighbors, and I’ve been watching. Perhaps I watch you right now. Regardless, in the future, I will certainly continue to watch you.”

The whisperings stay with me post-laundry, as I walk wearily past various units to get to my own. In which does the noteleaver live?

What gets this anonymous neighbor more steamed than any other vital laundry issue is the disposal of lint. This note appears a few times (–on the wall, on a couple driers):

Please remove your own lint when removing dry clothes.

From the person after you!

Does the anonymity of the gratitude make you shiver? What about that dagger of a disingenuous exclamation point?

My favorite note also makes a few appearances:

The trash baskets are for lint only. Please put your empty detergent containers in the proper containers at the dumpster.

What horrors might ensue should objects other than lint find their way into the baskets will have to wait for another post.

I have furtively fantasized about tampering with these notes, cutting an inch off the end of each every month, until they are ribbons tacked to the wall (or taped to the drier). Or I could write a note in response. “Is all lint fair game for the wastebasket? What if one should dig a ball of lint and belly hair from his/her navel? What then?”

But this post is a note. And while it’s tacked to a virtual space far from the laundry room, with luck and a little googling, someone from the condo association will find it, print it, and tack it next to the note requesting restraint in using Canadian quarters.