Survival of the Fittest: Laundry Day
Herbert Spencer was on to something when he coined the well-known principle “survival of the fittest” (a variation of Darwin’s “natural selection” theory). He applied it not just to evolution, but to government bodies, the economic marketplace, and social institutions.
He probably should have considered public laundromats, too.
Anyone without easy access to a washer/dryer has had to use these social experiments in basic survival. Laundromats are full of cranky life forms competing for machines, jockeying for position, eyeing one another suspiciously. They transform considerate people into savages, decent individuals into self-seeking rivals, where the only adage is “might makes right”.
I’m speaking, of course, of myself.
The Princess and I did our laundry Sunday morning at Suds, a small laundromat near downtown Takoma Park. After several years of having laundry facilities in my basement, I am not enjoying packing our laundry every couple of weeks and trekking out to some remote location a five-minute drive away. But a man has to do what a man has to do, and that includes cleaning my clothes.
Yesterday, however, Suds had several dryers out of order and many people waiting to use it. So, like Spencer theorized, I adapted to my new environment and evolved into a primal seeker of machines. I noticed a dryer not in use but full of dry clothes no one was claiming. I threw them out of the machine and on to the table. Later, as some undeveloped, sentient creature gabbed on his cell phone while SLOWLY taking out his dry clothes, I practically hip-checked him to get to it and shoved my wet clothes inside, not caring if he was done or not.
“He wasn’t done checking the machine, babe,” The Princess told me.
“Too bad,” I replied, as Cell Phone Guy gave me a look and took off.
“Laundry brings out a side of you I’ve never seen before.”
“The mean, obnoxious side.”
“Does it turn you on?”
“Hmm…It’s like survival of the fittest.”
It WAS survival of the fittest. And I won.