He is a crown prince with a wild side who doesn’t know how to do laundry.
She is a senior pre-med student who doesn’t understand Shakespeare, yet has to take a Shakespeare class to graduate and get into medical school.
She knows how to do laundry, and he knows how to read Shakespeare. They decide to share expertise and help each other out.
After sorting his dirty laundry, tossing it into the washing machine, and measuring out the correct amount of detergent, they lean back in the surprisingly clean and quiet laundromat, and he starts reading: perfect British accent, perfect violin and piano music in the background. Slowly, she starts to read the sonnet with a more metaphorical mind and
image from IMDb
eventually gets it, almost enjoying the literature that once scared the crap out of her. The music swells; end scene.
That scene from the 2004 film “The Prince and Me” starring Julia Stiles and Luke Mably set some of my expectations for college life when I watched it with my friend in high school. (I should know by now not to take life advice from any movie with the word “Prince” in it.)
I don’t hate laundry. But I don’t like it either. It’s stressful, especially in a public laundromat like the one I use. The whole time, I’m thinking “do they really need to charge $1.50 for some water and a few volts of electricity? I could buy an entire soda for this same amount!” I’ve considered getting a washbin and board (the kind that is more commonly thought of as a bluegrass instrument than a cleaning implement) just to save money. It might also be the tree-hugger in me coming out.
There’s also the stress of worrying about dropping one of my not-so-sexy undergarments in front of a hot guy I’ve been crushing on. I can see it now: I carry my damp laundry across the room to the dryer. I see him out of the corner of my eye as I deposit the moist load. On my way back across the room, I notice my oldest, most-tattered pair of underwear lying on the dirty floor in a dejected mess (the orange ones with white polka dots). The ever-so-pleasing male and I make eye contact, and I turn tomato red as only my snow white complexion can. Luckily it’s never happened, although I have had a few close calls. Oh please don’t ever let it happen!
In many ways, my delusions of public-laundry and college have mimicked each other. So far, neither of them have been what I expected. Most of my expectations of college were based on pop-culture, television, and the internet. (So trustworthy, right?) I expected cardigans and bow ties. What did I get? Salt-caked boots and hat-hair. I’ve realized that friendships don’t just happen; they are convoluted and messy and take hard, hard work. Drunk people aren’t either overly happy or overly angry like in movies; they are usually just overly irritating and dumb.
It’s in these reflections back on two-and-a-half years of college that I start worrying that my preconceptions of laundry and college will be repeated in my preconceptions of post-college life. I worry that my NYC, Friends-esque dream life complete with a well-decorated apartment and awesome roommates is simply not to be. What will it really be like to live away from home in a strange place with a job and a plethora of responsibilities? Will I actually find the city as inviting and exciting as it’s been on my few visits in middle school and my first year of college, or will it be scary, frustrating, and debilitating?
But then I remember what I did to get where I am now. I live 200 miles away from home in a completely new place with 18-credits worth of responsibilities piling up over my head. School here is still in many ways scary, frustrating, and debilitating. But in the grand scheme of things, it hasn’t really been that bad so far. (At least not so bad that I’ve been paralyzed by my situation for more than 12 hours at a time.)
Knowing what I now know about laundry and college life, I realize that post-college life will be challenging and frightening, but I also know that if I can do it once, I can do it again.
I just need to keep telling myself that.