In response to Jorgen Says: Dirt
The laundry situation in Lebanon has been a thorn in my side since the moment I stumbled into the smoke-filled airport so many moons ago. Despite dirty duds being a porthole to my relationship, I haven’t found a light at the end of the laundry tunnel yet. Here’s why: Lebanon as a whole, and specifically in my region of Beirut, doesn’t have the coin laundromats we in the Western world are so used to seeing on every corner. Not all houses are equipped with machines, and if I were to buy one I’d have to refill my water tank more than I already do (every 10 days) which would cost too much.
So what have I been doing for the past year? Apart from wearing ultra-dirty socks (don’t judge) and desperately handwashing simple attire, I’ve tried the ol’ wearing-the-jeans-in-the-shower trick and even just bought some new stuff to supplement old stuff. But really, when I need clothes washed I outsource. I pack a neat, practically vacuum-sealed bag and hand it over to my flatmate who hands it over to her mother who hands it over to their slave who dutifully washes and folds them. When my flatmate re-visits her family she picks up my stuff along with her stuff and I get a fresh clean load of laundry.
I’ve been known to take a bag of clothes to this or that friends house as well, since their mothers are probably doing laundry anyways. And when I go hang out at another friends house in Bint Jbeil (approx 2 hours south of Beirut) you better believe that I’m toting at least 2 full bags of sheets, socks, and other washables. At his house I get to do my own laundry at my leisure which I find very de-stressing.
The problem lies in the near future when my flatmate will be leaving little Lebanon and venturing on to study somewhere far far away. What I’ll do without her mother’s servant’s skills is beyond me. Recently the Norwegians and I were going out and noticed an oddly placed washing machine inside the butcher shop under our house. Our eyes lit up and our minds raced. I went in and asked our meat man if we could strike a deal, you know, to pay a small fee and use his butcher shop washing machine once in a while. He was totally perplexed, unresponsive, and awkward. I told him to think about it and I’d come back in three days.
That was two days ago and the machine is no longer sitting in the bloodstained butcher shop. The clock is ticking and I think it’s time to make nice with the neighbors. Anyone live in Mar Mikhael?