One big change since moving to Southern Maine is I no longer have my own washer and dryer. I have a coin-op shared space in my building and for the most part, it's been fine.

There are two washers and two dryers in my building. I have my favorites. One of the dryers doesn't seem to dry my clothes as well and one time they came out kind of smelly. But life goes on.

one coloured one white pile of washing

I've also had instances where the machines were full. Sometimes waiting to finish the cycle and other times just waiting for the owner to switch machines or take the laundry out. One time one person hogged both washing machines. I may have grumbled to myself but honestly in the grand scheme of things, no big deal. I can be patient. And, if there was ever an emergency, there are more machines in another part of the complex I have access to. Again, no big deal.

I've been here for about 5 months and this was a first for me. I washed my clothes and put them in the dryer. I went back inside to do some work and cook dinner. While I was eating I looked at my watch and saw my laundry was done. I scooped a bite into my mouth and walked to the laundry room to find something unexpected.

A young man was in there. I'd guess in his 20's doing his laundry. Never met him before and I probably couldn't pick him out of a line-up even now. What was odd was that he was putting his clothes into my dryer, and then I see that my clothes were in my basket on top of the dryer?

Um, excuse me?

Man Doing Laundry Reaching Inside Washing Machine

Totally perplexed I awkwardly said, "Uh, thanks," grabbed my basket and went back to my apartment.

My laundry was still very warm. It hadn't been that long. And I was sure the other dryer was free anyway.

This stranger touched my laundry. And this particular load has SO MUCH UNDERWEAR in it. Like, I was getting down to those undies that we all have, the ones we hate, but still, hang onto for some reason, and make us grumpy when we're stuck in them all day.


Plus there's the added layer of coronavirus concern. I already wash my hands whenever I leave that shared space and now some dude was all up in my clothes! He now knows all of Victoria's secrets!

I, like many in this digital age, took to the internet and vented about this crazy situation. Most of my Twitter followers said they felt that I was justified in being weirded out but others noted that common courtesy would be to set a timer and be in the laundry room BEFORE the load is done so it can be taken out immediately. Anything beyond my allotted time was free game to the other tenants. Perhaps there's an etiquette I didn't know about with it being my first time using a shared laundry space? I was under the impression that timely removal was acceptable, not necessarily immediate.

I was told that I was being entitled expecting someone to spend their time waiting on me beyond the timer. I'm willing to accept that. I know I can't expect others to behave the manner in which I would in that situation. Personally, I would have waited if I were able. And if I were on a time crunch I would have either used the other dryer or gone to the other building we have access to that has like, 6 dryers before touching another person's laundry. I would be so uncomfortable doing that. But again, that's me. I shouldn't expect the same of others.

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Some said it wouldn't have mattered if my clothes had been there for a half-hour, it still doesn't give others permission to touch my personal property, especially items so intimate. They also suggested I take an underwear inventory, just in case.

Others said that normally this would have been acceptable but not in times of COVID-19. I mean, we're not even allowed to be within 6-feet of each other.

Many said they would clean their laundry all over again. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough quarters left.

One of my favorite comments said to go back in and open the dryer while his load was going to make it stop. I didn't, but it made me chuckle.

I will add that I'm not making a formal complaint to my landlord about this. I'm not a confrontational person and this is the only time it's happened. And, again, maybe I was in the wrong and I'm willing to accept that. Going forward I'll make sure to drop everything before my timer is up because now I know the risk.

What do you think? Would this have weirded you out? Is this just how it is everywhere and I didn't know? Send me a message through our app!

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