Such a mundane chore, doing laundry. But when you live somewhere you have to do it. We have a washing machine in the apartment and we had to have Giovanni’s son show us how to use it. There’s no dryer, however, so everything has to be hung out on our line or on the drying rack that came with the apartment. The line is four floors above the street. I’m always afraid I’ll drop the clothes into the street while I’m leaning over the window to hang them on the line, so I prefer the drying rack. My husband, with his long arms, likes the line.
Those are our towels hanging out on the third floor of our apartment – four floors above the street.
We’ve done laundry in Italy before at the laundromat – laundromat, such a utilitarian and unappealing word. In Italy, it’s lavanderia (la-van-de-RIA). Doesn’t that sound like a more appealing place to spend an hour? Our washer is great for small loads, but for sheets and towels, we have to go to the lavanderia. We went yesterday and finally figured out how to do it. You put your clothes in the washer and lock it, then pay at the vending station and press the number of the washer you’re using. Then the whole thing takes care of itself. The detergent is automatically dispensed into the washer. I don’t know what it is about Italian laundry detergent, but it smells so good. Your clothes smell like the freshest and cleanest things on earth once they’re washed here. And the washers – they spin out so much of the water that the clothes are just barely damp when you get them out. And in this summer heat, they dry almost instantly.
We’ve only done a few washes, but it’s a very satisfying thing. There’s something about not using the dryer that seems very right. And hanging your clothes to dry just so, so that they don’t wrinkle, feels like an art form. I always thought line dried clothes were stiff and coarse, but these are not. They’re crisp, but soft and so fresh that you want to just keep washing them over and over. But electricity is expensive here (that’s what we’re told, we haven’t gotten a bill just yet) and people are very mindful of how they use it. Rates are lower at night and on the weekend, so that’s when you should do laundry. But we’re Americans and we do laundry when we want to. Hopefully soon we’ll settle into that mindset of conservation and always remember to turn the lights off, the gas off, use things when they cost less. Another good lesson – be mindful of the environment and respect the resources that you have.