An itinerant ironing man.

I saw this man in the street outside our apartment one day.  He rolls his cart from block to block, ironing the clothes brought to him by apartment housekeepers.  I don’t know how he heated his iron, which  was the heavy old-fashioned type.

A man stops his cart along our street, about once a week, to iron the neighborhood laundry.

The norm, apparently, is for one’s housekeeper to do laundry every day, scrubbing garments by hand on a rough stone bench in the small courtyard between apartments.  Our apartment has a washing machine, so we chose to do our own wash.

The washing machine (above) has two hoses; you hook one hose to the sink and places the other next to a floor drain.  You insert the electrical plug into a wall socket.  You add clothes on the left side, turn on the water until you think you have enough, and turn a mechanical dial that causes the machine to agitate for a while.  Then you turn another dial to cause it to drain.  Then you move the clothes to the right side, which is for spinning; another mechanical dial times the spin.  Usually, the water drains too fast and floods the kitchen a little.  This process takes a little practice, and a deft touch in the dials.

Either way, the clothes dry on a clothesline strung on the roof.  (The roof is flat, with a tiled floor and walls, plus a clothesline on poles.)  Of course, this is the rainy season, so it is very humid and rains nearly every day, so we have to keep a sharp eye on the weather.

Someday, we may learn more about the man with the mobile ironing service.  

Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

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