Entries in london (64)


The Launderette

I noticed this place when we were driving to the shops in West London.  The last time I was in one of these Launderettes was back in 1993 before I moved into a flat that had a washing machine. Seeing this place reminded me how having something so basic at home transformed my weekends.  I could spend the whole weekend out and not worry about having nothing to wear during the following week.  This rather sad and pathetic planning of everything is not part of the lives of many Kuwaitis of the new generation - even those who study abroad.  I feel old writing this post... It's not the first time I've heard myself starting a sentence with: 'During my day...' recently.  Before long I'll start sounding like Uncle Albert.

I went back the next day to the same Launderette to get a few shots and share them here.  I chose this particular one because it looked absolutely perfect.  Nothing more than what it should be.  The simple letters of the basic (and honest) name outside, and the disgustingly charming colour scheme that induces insanity in anyone above the age of two, were the perfect invitation to this neon-lit haven.  As you look down to avoid chronic depression, the brown tiled floor is the perfect reminder of gloom that causes the twitches you will have for the rest of the day.

We forget quickly, thank God, but it was a real chore for me back then.  Of course it still is for many people today.  Lugging my clothes in those horrible white bags - the ones with the blue and red lines and usually a broken zip and dodgy handles that seem to hold on for dear life on the last two remaining knots.  Why didn't I use a rucksack? I'm asking myself now.  I had a perfectly good one back then! Anyway, allow me to take you with me on what was my weekly pilgrimage to the local Launderette. 

The right change would be ready from the night before, and I would start every Saturday morning rain or shine (usually rain!) walking for about ten minutes.  After I start the clothes I head to the nearest newsagent which is never far away. If it was nice weather I would take my newspaper and healthy breakfast (crisps and chocolate) to the local park. Headlines only at this point and a reconnaissance of what I will read properly later. It was the only reading I did outside of textbooks. What a waste of bloody time. Back to the Launderette, and if there is a dryer available, in it the cleanish clothes would go, and I'm back to the newspaper. Articles and analysis are for when I get back home, so front few pages only and maybe the sport update in case the guys asked me on Monday. Laundry done, I would go home, spend an hour reading, followed by eight hours of TV. Non-stop.

I'm killing my point here before I even make it.  The thought I wanted to share was that we spent a long time doing things that my son will always take for granted.  Clothes appear clean in the wardrobe by themselves for most if not all my friends here.  However as I write these words wondering what it would be like to have that time again with Twitter and iPads, I'm not sure how wisely I would use it.  I would probably watch TV on my iPad at the Launderette.  I wouldn't even buy a newspaper.

A friend commented on my Instagram post the day I took these shots (slightly paraphrased): 'Ahh the days I used to spend washing my school clothes during weekends in London with no cell phone nor iPod Touch lol. Only newspapers and puzzles'.  In many ways... Just like today!

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