A Roman Laundry Adventure
The sun is out. There’s a light breeze. Quick, Nonna! Hang out my undies.
Rome is a patchwork of rags and the nags who brandish them like banners out windows, off ledges and, for the lucky few, from terraces.
“Rags” because even the finest garb looks like garbage dangling above the carbon monoxide causeways. “Nags” simply due to the fact that the mostly women (I am the only exception I know of at the moment) serve double duty: sheets and security.
In the 21st century of alarms, systems, and apps, Roma still relies on her delegation of Donnas to patrol, spy, report, and verbally accost anyone for just about any reason. Examples?
- You can’t park there. It’s a handicap spot.
- Stop honking your horn. The person double-parked who is blocking you is delivering my bread. He’ll be down after he finishes his coffee.
- Shut your kid up.
- You shut up and let the kids play.
So vigilante antics merge with clothes-pins and various “schemata” to create a visual flea market scored by raucous Romanesco dialect. Laundry day in Roma! Beats Italian TV by a mile (or a kilometer if you so desire).
So why don’t they have “dryers”. The North American culture mandates this “must”. Two things they have, even the impoverished: Flat Screen TV and Dryer. Not Roma. Per che?
- Electricity is expensive
- There is no room in a Roma flat for a dryer
- AC/DC 110 volt/220 volt yadda yadda. Wiring stinks!!!
- Venting the lint into your neighbor’s bathroom ain’t an option
Yet, there is something natural, almost communal, about this middle ages mentality. Everybody does it. Therefore, the sock you lost, the clip you dropped, the pigeon-tagging your grundies sustained? All types of casualties and causes find empathy with your fellow Romans. In fact, it makes for great comparative vocal correspondence among the terrace and window voyeurs.
And think about it. It’s the GREEN thing to do. Who cares if Uncle Luigi’s trousers are dangling off the building? Mother nature is giving that fresh CO2 scent to the clothes and the grid gurus aren’t profiting from it.
It may take longer than using a vented machine monster. But, so what? The average Roman clothes washer cycle runs for four hours anyway. You are ahead of the curve when it comes to drying.
If it is cloudy or rainy, however, you are screwed. The laundry sits on your soon-to-fall-apart folding indoor clothes-line-thingy and will be dry by leap year.