Posted by: roamingolivia | April 26, 2010

dry cleaning

I have a problem getting dry cleaning done. In general, it appears to be one of the things that is having problems adapting from a time when women spent most of their days at home, taking care of daily tasks and supporting men working outside their homes. There are other segments of the commerical world that have had to adapt to the fact that women work, which include things like grocery stores (now open later in the evening). Thus, dry cleaning becomes a good indication of affluence, gender roles and general lifestyle in a given place: in business-oriented areas of cities or even countries, dry cleaning hours are longer. In areas where women may not work, or where a person has a relatively high ability to take time off work, then dry cleaning has hours that almost entirely coincide with the business day.

In order to start dry cleaning in a country, one must do a series of things: first, find out what the word for dry cleaning is, so you can notice where a dry cleaner is located. There are a few words indicating professional laundry capabilities here, and I won’t go into them, but it should be some clue that I walked past a shop on my street for weeks and weeks without seeing the tiny metal engraved sign that tells me it is a dry cleaning shop. In fact, the main reason I even kept looking in its window was that it has an entirely black window display, in which it hangs a new dress really regularly. (I now wonder if these are just the cutest items it gets to clean each week? Maybe it’s a special prize? They don’t sell clothes so I am not sure how else they get their display material.)

Anyway, so having identified the fact it is a dry cleaning shop, the next step is to actually take clothes there. I am somewhat lazy when it comes to practical things, although I regularly gear myself up to be more responsible, and go entire weeks doing practical things every day. Then things lapse again. This particular case is made worse by the fact that this particular dry cleaning shop is open only 9 to 6, which is pretty useless if you work at a job. I live in an affluent area, and am not sure whether these hours are related to the area’s wealth (thus allowing for some leisure) or the fact that women in the area might not work, or both (wealthier people have higher birthrates here, which means that more women are not working?).

(Incidentally, one of the main reason I am even attempting to deal with this is that the main reason I lost so much valuable clothing in the great luggage debacle – now solved: the suitcase is in my London flat – is that I didn’t want to deal with dry cleaning here and had taken most of my business wardrobe back to the UK. Not smart, per se. I realised, after losing my luggage, that taking clothes to the UK for dry cleaning was not going to be a good way to live here.)

Having taken my clothing to the dry cleaner, I now have the next, hardest step (for a lazy person like me): actually picking it up. It’s ready on Friday (he had this great calendar system for deciding when my clothes would be ready, as if he were booking me an appointment with my clean clothes). We will see when I actually pick it up…


  1. Ah! I should have read this original. You write with a touch of panache! U better get a novel under way.

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