Doing laundry at a launderette is not nearly as glamorous as they claim in the movies. I dragged my stinky bag of laundry to the laundromat around the corner in Vienna. Instead of glamorous people reading books and working on their laptops, there are old people and overworked mums staring at the washing machines going round and round. Instead of a hot guy walking in, a homeless man is doing laundry.
While I wait for my washing to be done, wafts of cigarettes and pure sweat are passing by. I wonder what has made this man homeless. How does one find himself in this situation? I try to cover my nose without being obvious about it. The smell is unbelievable. I guess he can’t wash all his things, so he is wearing a jacket with one button done up, his big belly hanging out from underneath.
When my clothes go in the dryer I sneak out for coffee and cake around the block. I ignore the sign that says ‘we are not responsible for any lost laundry’ and hope for the best. The cake is divine and I almost dread going back to the launderette. Hopefully I am almost done. I stare at the dryer for another 15 minutes and then start taking out my still damp laundry.
Suddenly I see the homeless man undressing out of the corner of my eye. His dryer is done, so the jacket that was showing his big belly anyway, comes off. A fresh shirt is taken from the laundry basket and put over his still smelly body. Then the dirty jacket is put on again on top. At least he looks refreshed, but when I walk past to exit the laundry I still have to hold my breath. Laundry day is over.