Sunday, November 29, 2009


If anyone has ever been to Malta and done a load of laundry they will have their own opinion on this subject. However, here is mine:

So we have a washing machine that can fit little more than a single set of sheets or a large towel. This washing machine is not only minuscule compared to the Goliath like machines we are use to in the USA but it is temperamental too. I think the French are onto something when they put a feminine article before this particular noun. ("la machine à laver") Everything is going great, you are clicking and making all the right moves and then out of nowhere, all of a sudden BAM, without so much as a hint disaster strikes and I walk away confused and frustrated having accomplished nothing.

Our washing machine is stubborn and proving most difficult to master. Every load of laundry is a battle of wits, water, and soap. Laundry use to be a task I enjoyed completing and checking off my list. Now it has quickly become a constant and reoccurring nag. It is unpleasant for two reasons... 1.) The machine is tiny and fits almost nothing, because of this I have to fight the laundry battle more frequently and 2.) It recently churned out a set of whites a beautiful shade of pink.

I know what you are all thinking. There is this saying, "Real men wear pink." Ok, I can agree with you to an extent. Wearing pink takes a set of real kahuna's. Wearing pink to class or to a party is one thing. However, my current situation is different. In my working conditions wearing pink is flat out unacceptable. I am working in an environments that is so highly testosterone charged and estrogen absent that it could be mistaken for the front lines of the Battle of the Bulge. Could you imagine me showing up to work wearing a newly died pink shirt, with pink boxer briefs, and matching pink socks?! Could you, really? Do you know how long even the manliest of men would last on a dry dock wearing the outfit I just described? About as long as a freshly baked chocolate cake at fat camp. NOT LONG!

On top of every human characteristic our washing machine has chosen to embody, it is hands down the most unforgiving machine I have ever used. On the rare occasion that I do find the washing machine not in use, I begin strategically planning my advance. Do I clean work clothes, sheets, my towel, dress shirts? Once I have chosen my offerings I approach the machine with great caution. I do not want to startle it and get it upset before I even begin to unload my presents into its inner-most bowels aka no mans land. Theoretically, my next step is add soap and flip a switch or turn a knob and sit back to watch the magic that is modern appliances hard at work, so I don't have to be. In the US it is as simple as that. In Malta, it is not that easy. There are 3 knobs and 2 buttons that mean equally little to anyone but a rocket scientist. One ranging with numbers from 1000-0, one that has a bucket/half a bucket, one that has letters from A-L, and the final knob has yet another set of numbers ranging from 30-90 with an Astrix thrown in just for fun (in case it wasn't confusing enough already).

Finally, once you have endured all of these twists and turns the washing machine inevitably has the last laugh 99% of the time. This is the ringer, the final straw that snapped the camel's back. When the laundry do'er retraces his/her steps back to their room (or hallway in my case) you almost always stumble upon a sock, or pair of boxers, maybe even a T-shirt that decided halfway through the journey to break ranks and abandon the rest of its comrades and find a safe hiding spot. So most of you are thinking no problem, it is a minor set back and can be easily corrected. And again I say to you, in the US yes this is true.. However, we here in Malta have learned that this is a catastrophe. For once the laundry do'er starts the cycle the washing machine locks instantly. For what reason I have no idea, but there is no way come hell or high water that you will be physically capable of opening the hatch to throw in the deserter that you discovered after the fact. Nothing works, not stopping it, unplugging it, clicking all the buttons, rotating all the dials NOTHING! It starts and it doesn't finish until IT decides it is done. (I can't even begin to go into attempting to guess how long a load of laundry takes the variation is an indecipherable mathematical equation that only that same rocket scientist can figure out.)

This was me venting and airing out my dirty laundry. I apologize for the pun but it was a necessary evil. So next time you do laundry wherever you find yourself on God's green earth be thankful that it is not with a Maltese washing machine. If you are one of my friends here in Malta, I want you to know that I feel your pain and completely understand when I am over and see an unusually large pile of dirty laundry in the corner of your room.

1 comment:

  1. Please add to your list of laundry lamentations:

    - Unmarked 3-compartment detergent drawer: If I knew which Italian-versed bottle was softener instead of soap...I still wouldn't know where to start.

    - 2:20 cycles: Every time...regardless of which stage in the aforementioned 1000-0 range is chosen. This stuff is getting CLEAN.

    - Hanging your sheets over the curtain rod and/or table and chairs and/or largest object you can find...then waiting 3 days for them to dry in the damp Maltese air

    **Bonus points for the "play/pause" button found on our darling of a machine...not sure whether to throw in my socks or my favorite Seinfeld DVD