Kindness in the Laundromat

Dealing with the fallout of a broken washing machine, today I made my way to the closest “wasch salon.”  I bought time on washer Number 9 along with a heaping cup of soap powder.

Everything churning away, I bought a cup of coffee from a machine for €1.  The manager paused in his machine polishing to ask if one could drink that.  That was what I understood, though he kept talking for a minute or so in a mouth-full-of-mush native Berlin accent.

A moment later, I took my coat off and knocked the coffee cup onto the floor.

I asked him for a rag, intending to clean it up myself.

“Oh, ya gonna make me work today!” he said cheerfully.

I said how sorry I was not to be able to tell hime how it tasted, as it was all over the floor.

He cleaned it all up, chattering the whole time, while I looked silly and penitent (not hard).

Then he gave me my Euro back.


Just a traveler in a fast-changing world, trying to write enough to keep up

2 thoughts on “Kindness in the Laundromat

  1. I liked Berlin when we were there. Where are you living? How are you spending your days? Cold cuts for breakfast, of course, are typical of a lot of European breakfasts. Bread, cheeses, meats, eggs, pastries. With the Euro close to parity with the dollar, how expensive does life seem to you?


    1. Hey, Lena!

      In reverse order — cost of living seems lower here, BUT I am renting a room at a greatly reduced rate (I’m a repeat AirBnB renter with this couple, in a district called Friedenau, close to where my relatives lived! and they needed someone to look after their cats while they’re in Spain. Rents are pretty high — for what I pay for my mortgage (2-BR house in Olympia – $1100) i could get a studio, maybe a 1 BR. Bay Area prices of a few years ago….

      The cold cuts are great, but thanks be, I am back to eggs/oatmeal! At home I’m pretty much gluten-free, here there is a bakery on every well-travelled corner, plus some in between. My ex-pat honeymoon period was accompanied by many visits to kondietoreis, and now I’m dealing with the fallout — general inflamation and candida.

      How i spend my days — one or two (short) days a week at the library of the Topography of Terror (dramatic name for the museum dealing with the Nazi infrastructure) — an extremely comprehensive library, where I either take a couple of hours to figure out that a particular book in German is or isn’t along the lines of what I’m looking for, or by luck I find something in English on the same subject. So far, those subjects include midwifery in the Weimar and Nazi years, the branch of the Lutheran church that resisted the Nazis, resistance in particular parts of Berlin, christians of Jewish background.

      Other days I go to other memorials or places that may be helpful in my novel (recently, the Memorial to German Resistance gave me very good info on various groups). Still on the docket are several “underground Berlin” tours — literally: they have one of a bomb shelter.

      What’s been happening for you these days? I saw on Facebook that you had pneumonia a couple times. Hope that’s all done.

      Take care,


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