It may sound like a Chinese Takeaway or an Ice Cream shop, but it is actually a laundromat. With several branches across the island I was spoilt for choice, but convenience selected the one next door to my husband’s office in Hamilton.
For me this was a new experience, and as you get older they don’t happen all that often. Not quite as daunting as a visit to the dentist but I was a little apprehensive, holding tightly onto the king-sized duvet as it tried to escape from the not-so-king-size black plastic bag. At first I thought there was nobody there, but hidden at the back was an industrious lady folding newly dried pillowslips and because she wore an apron I asked her for some help. She directed me to “one of the large machines” in which my duvet looked like just half a load. But I was stuck again, no instructions. You, of course, are laughing, who needs instructions to do the washing? I surmised I needed money and detergent. The former I had – a pocket weighed down with coins, sought out just half an hour ago from the usual hiding places – back of sofa, old purse, trouser pockets and bedside tables – all useless. I read the notice “Bermuda’s First Coinless Laundry” but still had no idea what I should do next.
One thing about Bermudians is that they are very friendly and very helpful and though it turned out the lady-in-apron was actually a customer and not an attendant, she abandoned her own tasks to help me out. So I needed to buy a “laundry card”, $5, and load it with more $ which I then should use to buy some detergent, $1.50. I didn’t need coins but I did need neat flat non crumpled notes. My family will tell you that I scrumple everything – train tickets, boarding passes, even credit cards – so of course I did not have any neat flat notes and the machine rejected every offering. I was assured that my dirty washing would be safe while I went to the bank; nevertheless I hurried there and back, wanting neither to loose my place in the non-existent queue nor to lose my new friend without whom I was sure I would make a fool of myself.
So now I had machine, detergent, card …. straightforward now? Nope, the machine I had selected for being close to the door, was also out of order, a fact that I did not discover until after I had discharged the powdery detergent into the detergent drawer (which is on the top of the machine by the way, not easily found). Next time I will know to bring my own washing liquid. I wish I had asked her name, the lady-in-apron gave me some of her own liquid detergent, I’d like to pay her back one day, for today all I can say is Thank You.
From this point everything ran smoothly, and true to it’s name, quickly. There were wheeled baskets to carry the washing across to the wall of dryers and now I knew the system – insert card, select cycle, remove card – just five repeats of the 75 cent dry cycle and my fresh-soft-duvet is ready for bed.
Does everyone find it so hard not to give in once you have made up the bed with new sheets? But it is another 8 hours until I can go to bed!