It’s a lazy, late-fall Saturday morning here: overcast skies complement the burnt orange and dark green hillsides outside, and inside there’s nothing going on but laundry. Which reminds me of a story.

Laundry. Every American college/grad student/young apartment-dweller knows the absurdities and lengths to which we must sometimes go in pursuit of clean clothes. I have a friend who once bought new underwear rather than do laundry.

Thankfully at the Village we have a laundry room with 10 machines, most of which work. For the low price of 1000 ₩ you can wash and dry a load. There’s even an iron/ironing board for the wrinkly. As in any laundry situation, timing is key. It takes the development of a sort of laundering instinct to know when the best machines will be free, or when you’ll have to wait forty minutes just for one to open up.

A unique feature of the laundry room at the Village is that it is also open for the students to use.  Do any of you recall going to camp when you were in grade school? Was laundry one of your big concerns? By the end of the week, these kids smell like they’ve never seen a shower, much less washed their clothes. What kid in their right mind is going to come and do laundry on a weeknight while they’re at an English camp?

Such was my assumption. Til the Tuesday night a few weeks ago when I, in switching loads from washer to dryer, was descended upon by a gaggle of laundry-minded young gentlemen, who, by way of locating a free washer, were opening each machine and examining its contents.

To state briefly, for the remainder of that week I remained uncertain as to exactly which ones and how many of my students had, in fact, gotten a good look at my underwear.  The ludicrousness of the situation hit me about the time I was stuffing wet bras into my towel in a vain attempt to convey the dripping bundle across the room to the dryer without attracting attention to the contents.  One great, and also awful, thing about children is how curious they are. Such inquisitive wee beasts. A good trait in the classroom yet somehow a less desirable one when examining Teacher Colleen’s panties in the washing machine. I could have turned it into a teaching moment, I guess (“Students, repeat after me: boxers, briefs, bikini”), but apparently I am not dedicated enough to my job for that yet. Maybe next time.

New rule: Laundry is a weekend game!