By Krista Miller, firstname.lastname@example.org If your laundry day was anything like mine, you looked at it as basically another free day, or free afternoon at least. Because doing laundry is such an event while on tour, I have compiled a list of things for you to do while enjoying this precious "time off."
1 -- Just relax. Laundry day is the PERFECT time for that thing you never get to do -- NOTHING! Grab your headphones, throw the detergent in the machine, find a seat and just take a load off. Sitting around, loafing, and being a bum is completely acceptable during this time. ^2 -- Reading. Many of you, like me, took a book on tour. I unfortunately never had the strength or energy to read mine. However, if while at home you read to wind down and relax, you may find it quite nice on a laundry day. 3 -- Extra practice time. While you probably can't (or shouldn't) take your horn along to actually play while at the Laundromat, you may find it beneficial to work in a bit of extra practice. If this is your choice, take your mouthpiece, pad or flag and do some buzzing/drumming/spinning while you do your laundry. If mouthpiece buzzing isn't your thing, take the music and do the fingerings. 4 -- Shopping. This one depends on where your Laundromat is, of course. If you're the "lucky bus," you'll get dropped off at a Landromat close to a Wal-Mart, K-Mart or something of the like. If you're unlucky, you get the place without a gas station and a closed pharmacy. Let's pretend you're the lucky bus -- this affords you with plenty of time to make a trip to get shampoo or whatever else you might need or want. Take advantage of the opportunity. As most of you know, shopping on tour is kind of like Christmas! 5 -- Phone calls. We all know while on tour the "real world" vanishes. We all live in our own little bubble. Therefore it is important to keep in touch with those back home. Laundry day may afford you the perfect opportunity to make a call home to your family. Calling also makes them feel like they're a part of your world. They probably don't know exactly what you're going through, so keeping them updated (or at least letting them know you're alive every now and again) is a nice thing to do. And whatever you do, don't come home with a phone bill exceeding $300. Relationships on the road are pricey! 6 -- Journal. I took a journal on tour. I also did an audio journal for my boyfriend, and he did one for me (he marches too). My writing journal and the audio journal eventually both got off track as the summer progressed, but they're both a great idea. Doing laundry also allows time for recording things that have been happening. I'm sure eventually reading those accounts of my summer will be tons of fun. If you try the audio journal you might be interested to know that doing it for someone else is a lot of fun. Tristan and I in essence talked to each other on the tapes. It was like someone else to vent to at the end of a long day. 7 -- Make extra cash. This may sound odd to you. But I'm here to tell you that there's a black market for doing people's laundry on tour. Oftentimes if you're running low on cash you can find someone who will pay you to do their laundry. Hit up a staff member because you know they don't want to spend six hours in a Laundromat full of corps kids. If you're in a real bind, you can probably find someone who just doesn't like doing laundry, and would be willing to pay you. Just make sure you do a good job. Clean laundry is a big deal on tour, so make sure they get their money's worth. 8 -- Food. Doing your laundry sometimes will allow you to take part in what I call "pseudo real world." Food is a prime example of this. While doing your laundry perhaps you'll find a place to eat! Beware of eating fast food or any kind of "real world" food on free days. Greasy foods such as pizza should also come with a warning label. It may be good while it lasts, but tomorrow will not be a pretty rehearsal for you. 9 -- News. Catching up on current events is also a nice thing to do on a laundry day. Perhaps you'll come across as Laundromat with a TV, or maybe you'll pick up a newspaper. Either way, enjoy it because when you return home, it'll take you forever to catch back up. 10 -- Enjoy "the real world." Sometimes, because of the "drum corps bubble" that we live in all summer, we forget that the world is still going on just like it always had. You forget that there are real people out there doing real life things. Therefore, seeing non-corps people on a free day can be a real treat. For example, it's nice going into a store and seeing babies (for a while on tour I wasn't sure babies even existed). You'll also find couples, elderly people, etc. I call this "people watching." It's also an endless source of entertainment when the only faces you've been seeing are the same day in and day out. Remember that aside from having to actually do your laundry, that the time you have is your time. Take it for all it's worth and do what you really enjoy doing. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I've enjoyed writing. Feel free to drop me an email with your own ideas or comments. Krista Miller is a junior communications major at Virginia Tech living in Blacksburg, Va. This past summer was her rookie season with the Glassmen. She plans on pursuing a career in mass media. She'll be contributing frequent reports to DCI.org. Past articles by Krista Miller: Ten reasons to love the bus Ten reasons to love drum corps