Of Laundry Chutes and Robots

By: Matthew Karre Apr 2

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When faced with the question “Do you have laundry chute,” how does one respond? The answer is simple enough, you either do or you don’t. You’d know if you did because you’d have a chute in your house, probably accessed by a small door in the wall, that leads straight down to the laundry room in the basement. They work best when the laundry room is in the basement rather than the main floor or in the attic. With the chute you’d be able to drop clothing—be it a single pair of bib shorts or the whole kit, because every goddamn ride is so soaked and disgusting from road grit that you can’t even re-wear leg warmers (eat shit SoCal. Eat shit.)—with great ease and little care directly to where they need to be for their next adventure in life: laundering. The clothing have experienced this adventure on numerous occasions because you ride a lot and every ride is rain soaked and disgusting with road grit such that you can’t even re-wear leg warmers (still applies SoCal). The chute removes the labor of lugging a heavy hamper full of rain soaked and disgusting clothing to the laundry room. The chute almost removes the necessity of hampers entirely, if it weren’t for that nuisance called gravity (which also plays a major role in the rain soaked aspect). The laundry chute is a one way slide. If you had a robot or maybe even two robots, I bet they could contrive a way to get the clothing back up to the bedroom or closet or wherever. Without robots I don’t think it’s possible and so we’ll need to have hampers to continue this essential domestic duty.

In some ways the laundry chute is a bit lazy. Perhaps the chute itself isn’t lazy, far be it from me to anthropomorphize such a thing, but rather it makes the user lazy. The user must place the clothing into the chute and allow it to drop into a heap down below, which keeps the heap out of sight for a spell, which is nice. It adds a bit of class to your profile, making you look like you clean your place when you actually just hide the mess, because a heap in the bedroom or a heap in the basement is still a heap. It soon must be placed in the washing machine, the machine turned on and the detergent added. The user has to go down to the laundry room anyway to perform said task so why not just carry the heap in the hamper and do it all at once? Once again, if a robot was down there to accept the laundry, apply its programing and wash the laundry—hopefully without putting the new red socks in with the white jersey and arm warmers—dry the non-delicates and return the heap back up the chute into the bedroom, then the chute would be an efficiency rather than a lazy maker.

I—we—do not have laundry chute at our house. And while our laundry room resides in the basement, we (and by ‘we’ I mean rarely me. Not a judgement or pontification, purely a statement of fact) must arduously transport the soiled linens in a low tech hamper down the stairs by hand. I do, however, have robots. Two of them, in fact, both on my bike. They do what I tell them and they respond to a simple language of gentle touch. One robot makes official robot noises audible even among the blowing of the wind and pouring of the goddamn incessant rain. This robot is self adjusting so that when I’m giving all the attention to the other robot, it corrects itself ever so slightly with the satisfactory enunciation of effort. And while the other robot makes minimal robot noise, we’ll call them baby robot noises, it sees action more frequently than the other robot. It does not self adjust though. It doesn’t need to. These robots use SEIS technology. Electronic Intelligent Shifting. Made by Shimano. Intelligently electronic they are, and shifting they do. I love those robots (I love even more that they are connected to the world’s nicest carbon road frame. No hyperbole implied or required.) They get to be with me when the laundry gets dirty, though they do precious little to make it clean again.

So, when posed with the question: “do you have laundry chute?” Don’t criticize the question by wondering ‘why is there no article, definite or indefinite? Do you mean ‘A laundry chute?”’ It’s not a typo or a stereotype. Realize that the person who posed the question is but three years old and goes by the name Henry. He lives in Minnesota and probably has laundry chute in his house. But no robots. Just down tube shifters.



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