Lost in Laundromat Translation

Tips on using an Italian laundry service. Story all true, formed last Saturday as a series of unfortunate events.

Step 1: When using an Italian laundromat make a fool of yourself first by playing it cool when others are standing around waiting on their own personal belongings.

Step 2: Get set up in a corner as if you're prepping for a long day of laundering. (laundry-not money, let's be clear!)

Step 3: Wait for said people and any extra onlookers to slowly exit and be financially prepared for any extra money to be spent.

Step 4: Fake read Italian signs all over the room, completely bypassing the signs above the washers that are in fact ENGLISH INSTRUCTIONS. So when you see a sign that says "Istruzioni per il lavaggio" ,you will understand it reads "washing instructions". You will also see the UK flag representing a "universal" English speaking dialect.

But wait! It gets better!

Step 5: Walk to the blinking lotto slot to choose your desired washer and dryer machine. Feed it money because ALL THINGS  blinking, in a different language, means you should FEED IT IMMEDIATELY! 

No worries if you've tossed in an initial 10 Euro and procede to wait for your change. Forget understanding that with all the blinking, the Klingon machine will still fail to tell you how to get your money back. But make sure to look at the buttons that say "Lavatrice" and "Asclugatrico", because you are bound to assume that they mean wash and dry. And you'd be right.  But now-now you American; don't get ahead of yourself.

The other steps are as follows: Now this includes severe patience and I hope you're up for the challenge...If not, abort this mission now.

You have to wait patiently while looking unassuming. Wait and watch your clothes sit motionless in a washer & pretend like you know what you're doing. When the waiting pays off, look to your left and look to your right. These people on either side are now your oblivious comrades. They won't know they're your comrades, but they will be. They will come in the form of a sour-faced woman, a ghost-faced man, and a Mr. Bean impersonator. Also an occasional curious child or two will aid in your lack of knowledge. 

Enter Mr. Bean who approaches the washer machine first, putting in his load next to your sad bunch of clothes. What's this? He now walks over to the blinking slot machine and selects Lavatrice.
Ohhhh, now the "non-disponibile" makes more sense. "Not Available". Va bene! Now I can sit and see Jesus turn the dormant into the washed.

Pay close attention to your next comrade, ghost-faced stunn-uh. He peers from across the street, keeping a distant eye on his clothes in a dryer, but somehow staring you down for walking near his dryer. It's okay, he's less intimidating when he begins to talk. Not to you mind you, but everyone else.

The sour-faced lady checks her clothes often, even though she's aware there is a 30 minute dry time located on a sign above the dryers. (Derp face: Why it no make no sense?)

Okay father of inquisitive child, I won't say keep an eye on your child this one time, because in this case he will be pressing all types of crazy buttons & I would offer him a Coke. 
Have at it kid... Suddenly the blinking lotto slot is a fluent United Nations Ambassador (insert Ariel's singing, "Ahhhh-ahhh-ahhhh, ahhhh-ahhhh-ahhhhh, Ahhhh-ahhhhh-ahhhhh-ahhhh)
ENGLISH! I've never been more excited to see how to do my laundry in Italian in all of a day's work. 

Here I was waiting for some cute Italian guy who spoke English to come in and sweep me off my feet.
Instead I'm sure I added 30 extra minutes to ghost-face man's drying time, and a wait time of 10 minutes for someone else, from pulling my laundry out of the wash before it was finished. 

The perk in all of this craziness is that I learned how to wash my laundry in an Italian laundromat.

I won't say learn a language to speak to people. Learn a language to operate laundry.


  1. should have taken two books: an italian dictionary and an italian magazine to hide your dictionary. lesson learned.


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