Tuesday, 30 September 2008

The Service Wash

I've never used a service wash at a launderette although I suppose it's a bit like being a minor whose parent does their washing for them. The problem is that you don't appreciate the service you're getting until you're the one doing it for someone else.

In our house, it's getting trickier to determine whose are who's as my two sons have started buying clothes from the same shops and are roughly the same size. Of course, I'm supposed to know the difference between two seemingly identical items of clothing. You only have to look around the streets outside the local college to see that whilst there are wild variations in the styles of clothing, they tend to gather in clusters of those with a like-minded sense of fashion.

As you get older, clothes seem to be a more individual affair. My own are not those I would choose to wear; they are more of a collection of things which have stood the test of time and the tumble drier. They don't represent me, they're just a convenience to stop me from being arrested. If I had a little money, I probably wouldn't buy clothes but if I had a lot, I would.

At my counselling course, we were discussing making observations of how people look in order to gauge their mental state. This is worrying. That would make me an unco-ordinated, faded, worn-out, outdated heap of rags. OK, that's maybe a bit strong but it is enough for me to vow to buy some new clothes at the first opportunity.

And so I have been paying a little more attention to people and what they are wearing. On my way back from dropping my son off at college, I keep seeing this man on foot crossing the railway bridge. The first thing I noticed was his dark eyebrows and white hair, chin length and blowing like sheets on a windy day. His face is bony and he's so tall and his strides so long that I imagine office workers being lost in his inside leg. His coat, a navy blue quilted anorak flaps open in time with his hair and he moves so lightly as if hastily gliding from cloud to cloud in order to avoid falling through to earth. The thing is that he looks out of place, from a different time and doesn't fit the demographics of your average Horsham person. All that and I'm supposed to be concentrating on the road and if making observations for writing purposes wasn't enough, now I've got another excuse to do it.

It seems that it is inescapable for us to judge each others' appearance. So I'd never use a service wash. I couldn't face going back to collect my clothes.


cheryl63 said...

Oh dear, I had better go shopping and make myself look more "presentable" !

pierre l said...

When we lived in South Kensington and didn't have space for a washing machine, my wife used service washes quite a lot. It has the advantage that it spreads the load on the launderette, and I imagine the attendant doesn't really have the time to judge your choice of clothes.
Nowadays, I only use the launderette when my machine is broken, and do the wash myself.
Sorry I have been an erratic reader recently, Kathryn; I will try and improve.