As will happen on even a short hiking trip to the jungle, we now own some stinky clothes. There is no laundry in the apartment but my host indicated several within a couple of blocks. I sat here all morning dithering because I hate to do laundry. I hate to do laundry when I’m at home with my own washer and dryer, a closet full of clean clothes and a game on TV. I really hate sitting in laundromats. When we first started dating, Mary and I, poor, beleaguered and dirty graduate students that we were, would usually go to a laundromat on Sunday afternoons. Mary loves cleaning things. I loved Mary. I did a lot of things like that during courtship, all guys do (you think we like tucking shirts in or combing our hair?). But laundry was the worst. We had some grand old times watching game show reruns and blowing a great percentage of our down time sitting in laundromats.
So, I was not looking forward to spending an afternoon in the hot, loud laundromat washing clothes. I had been working out how I might get through the month in Buenos Aires on 8 pairs of underwear. I had a plan. It wasn’t a good plan and it involved the bidet but it was a plan.
Flash forward to our arrival at the laundromat. I stared at the washers trying to see where to put the money in, realizing I haven’t yet encountered an Argentinian coin. There was a lady asking me something, clearly doing a boring task for the millionth time, not expecting any hassle. I finally realized what she was asking and I agreed, I do need to clean my clothes. She gave me a bin and through words and motion I figured out I was to put my clothes in the bin. I did. She looked at the pile, unimpressed, and then went to the back of the store and started writing.
I began studying the washers again. There was nowhere to put the money. Seriously, how the hell am I going to start this thing? I thought, perhaps, I pay the woman a fee and she turns it on for me. I was a little jittery.
She came back and gave me a ticket, like you’d get at the dry cleaners. Mary turned to leave.
“Hey,” I said.
“She’s going to do the laundry for us!”
Mary just looked at me and said, “We did this in England, remember?”
No, of course, not. I try hard not to remember laundry. So it turns out that the cleaners here will wash my clothes for a terribly low price and I can come back Monday and pick them up. That sounds a much better plan than the bidet.