Back from A weekend in Basque Country, the laundromat saga continues…

My husband and I did something really really naughty tonight. We brought in three huge loads of laundry five minutes after 9PM into our infamous laundromat. Fully aware of the cut off time, we ran with a huge army duffle bag balanced between us from our apartment – determined to get our wash done.

Just as we arrived and started stuffing washing machines, a teenager pointed to the sign on the door that read the “Dernier lavage a 9 PM” (last load at 9) and then she told us that the coin machine (yes, the infamous coin machine) would cut off and we’d be stuck. She insisted that we couldn’t do our laundry anymore.

I responded that she was wrong: “Le Laverie ferme a dix heure!” and my husband started plugging coins into the machine which was still working. Out of nowhere he began to sing, “Il ma-arche, il ma-arche, il marche!” (it wo-orks, it wo-orks, it works!). Our brooding teen was not very happy with this. But let’s face it, the French are sticklers for process –any one who’s been through the Carte de Sejour process will agree.

The owner of the shop walked in and looked at all three of our loads carefully. He wished us all a good evening and walked out. Not a word about the time. No question about if we needed to use the dryers. Everything was hush, just the sound of clothes going around and around.

As soon as our disgruntled teenager’s clothes dried, she balled them up and marched out. But, not before she wished us a “bon soireé” – another french formality that you must do no matter what the situation is. Oh, I felt pain for her. There’s nothing worse than insisting that your right, not being right, having some one rub it in your face with a victory song, having to wait in silence for your laundry to finish, and then having to wish those awful Americans a good night anyway!

The owner let us dry our laundry and killed the machines at 11 P.M. Plenty of time to finish. We told him we had just got back from vacation and that we were sorry. He responded, “C’est normal, c’est normal”

Didn’t loose or make any money tonight at the laundromat, so I guess we’re still a few coins ahead.

Tune in next time for “As Our Clothes Turn” …

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