Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Lavanderia

We had five days of rain about two weeks ago which is not unusual for desert climates like California.
My gardens got a good drink that will last until the middle of summer. The only drawback is that I couldn't hang my laundry out to dry, and due to the moisture in the air, drying them in the house took forever!!!
I decided to check out my local lavanderia about two blocks away. I can't remember the last time I used the services of a public lavanderia. Early in the mornings on weekends my latina neighbors are pushing laundry carts piled high with laundry most visably, blankets. There are often children following the train of push carts carrying a bottle of commercial laundry detergent and or bleach.Upon my arrival, I noticed the vending
machines carried only Latin brand soaps. Hmm, I pictured Old School Brand in those vending slots!          The lavanderia was clean,and  not too busy as I had a  choice of machines depending on the size of my load. Two dollars and  fifty cents  buys you a slightly larger than standard machine. Drying costs about twenty five cents for 10 minutes. I brought  a couple of loads.  I got  my change in quarters from the change machine, put the quarters in the machine, followed the directions for adding soap, then pushed the temperature buttons  start.

The slots for the soap held about one half  cup of soap  each. There were two slots,and  a slot for a rinse liquid. A bit confusing in my opinion, anyway I put 2 tablespoons in two slots,(prewash, and regular)  wash since I was washing a large load of comforters.
Now I had about 30 minutes on my hands, so I sat and imagined the stories behind the faces I saw, listened to Latin music over the speakers and watched a young father become engrossed in a Latin soap opera on T.V. while his young toddler ran around the lavanderia.
I wondered what the difference would be to my laundry using the commercial machines, my measured amount of soap and the hot commercial dryers. My blankets were fluffy and fresh! I love the option of the lavanderia.
I can talk with my neighbors, experience diversity in a micro environment, and be productive! I love the scent of my  air dried laundry, the crunchy towels which are wonderful for exfoliating the skin, and the experience of being in my garden. I would have to say though, the lavanderia  offers something very special as well.
I appreciate the option! Well, I must buzz off, I'm working on a VERY cool project that I'll share with you all later. In the mean time, be well, productive in your lives and above all, GRATEFUL.


  1. I love this post. I think it's important to remember that laundry is a community effort too and a chance to socialize -- even if mechanized!

  2. You are so right, we have opportunity within our own communities to share resources and diversity! I remember seeing archival photos of women washing clothes by the river, or images of the first lavanderia in the Missions of early California. Imagine the oral histories and traditions passed down through the sharing of household chores. Sitting around the kitchen table eating and sharing is another tradition worth revisiting!