What stood out most to me about our class’ self-evaluation of adulthood was the significance placed on doing one’s own laundry. Many classmates referenced cleaning their own clothes as a marker of their maturity – elevating the rankings slightly. What is it about doing one’s own laundry that apparently enables people to feel a wider breadth of agency? From what I gather, people cite doing laundry as a marker of maturity because it is symbolic of a separation of dependency from one’s parents. That may be, however I would argue that in my particular case, not doing my own laundry is reflective of a much more mature and responsible decision.
I do not do my own laundry. Up until my college move in, I had probably only operated a washing machine two or three times – and only because my parents were out of town or because I needed to cover up something on my clothes from them. Doing laundry freshman year was rough; not due to lack of ability to run a washing machine/dryer, rather because all the washing machines in my dorm were broken, causing me to have to run at least 2 wash cycles and 2 dryer cycles just to have my clothes clean and dry. Monetary expenses of laundry aside, this was very frustrating for me. Doing laundry became a multi-hour event, which sucked, and furthermore the machines were often occupied meaning I would have to wait additional time for one to open up.
Considering how inconvenient the task of laundry was, at the beginning of this school year I did my due diligence, discovered “Busy Bodys” (A laundry service in which you pay for a certain weight, leave your clothes outside your door, its collected weekly and returned the following day clean and folded), and sold my mother on paying for. Many have argued that I was just being lazy, incapable of doing my own laundry, or that simply I was being a “J.A.P” – all plausible explanations.
In stark contrast, I believe that my actions with regards to my laundry decisions reflect far more maturity than the act of cleaning my own clothes. Lets evaluate my actions that led to me paying for laundry:
1) I recognized my own distaste of doing laundry
2) I researched various services and compared costs to other companies
3) Upon figuring out the best option in the local market, I evaluated approximate weight of laundry per week to determine the cost
4) Next I evaluated the extent to which I value my own time (how much are the 4 hours or so a week to me)
5) Then I aggregated my research and prepared an informal proposal for my mother
After hearing my case for this laundry service, my mother saw the merit of paying for laundry and handed over her credit card. Alas! I finally was back to the wonderful world of not doing my own laundry – and it really is a wonderful world. Haven’t had a single ruined article of clothing (something I can not say for the broken machines in my dorm), I save hours and hours every week (time which I now spend doing homework/other productive tasks), and ultimately the cost of paying for the service is not that much higher than the cost of running the machines in my building. All in all I believe Busy Body’s was a great investment.
In conclusion, I would argue that not doing laundry demonstrates my proximity to adulthood far more than cleaning clothes. I demonstrated agency by researching alternatives to doing my own laundry, I performed a cost-benefit analysis, did self-evaluations of the worth of my time, and I constructed an argument appealing to my audience.
So call me lazy. Call me dependent. Call me whatever you want – I don’t really care. If you happen to call me something mean, thats fine, because I now have plenty of disposable hours each week for counseling if need be. So get at me all you laundry-service haters!