Whenever I do laundry I invariably think about the young couple who ran the hotel we stayed in in Melide, Spain. They were in their thirties and if they had children I never saw any evidence of it. He welcomed us graciously to the hotel and asked us to sit in the breakfast area while he explained the details of the hotel. While we were talking his wife came out with some drinks and snacks. It was a wonderful experience to be greeted with such hospitality. She took us upstairs to our room and even though she spoke no English and I barely had 50 words in Spanish under my belt she uttered a word that filled me with happiness…lavadoro (washing machine)
Every day on the camino when we arrived at our nightly destination we would wash out our clothes and then shower, put on clean clothes, an go explore the town. But washing one’s clothes in a sink is a bit dicey. Do you have soap? Sometimes the shower will contain a packet about the size of a sugar packet and it will be labeled body wash and shampoo. I don’t want to share my washing up liquids with my t-shirt. Sometimes the sink is a little dodgy. The seal might not be sufficient to keep the water in the sink for washing. And then there’s the question of where to hang the clothes. So when I found out there was a washing machine I was beside myself. I quickly showered and went in search of this magical gift.
I found the washing machine in the courtyard next door to the hotel. And la Senora was there to show me how to use the machine. As I was pulling the dirty clothes out of my bag I pulled out one of Glen’s shirts. The sleeve was all wadded up inside of itself. As I was shaking the shirt to turn the sleeve out I saw she was looking at me so I gave out a sigh and said “Los Hombres”. Men! She nodded and said “Si, los hombres.” It was a moment of connection. Here we were two women and we shared a common understanding about shaking out a wadded up sleeve before washing it.
Now this wadded up sleeve is not a rare occurrence. And usually most of the socks are wadded up too. So now every time I encounter this washing irritations I remember la Senora and I think, “Los Hombres”.
“Si, los hombres”.