finding the washateria

Someone asked Daniel Boone if he’d ever been lost . ” Aint never been lost , ” Boone , the explorer and frontiersman said , ” but I sure been confused for weeks at a time . ”   And there you have it . Daniel Boone and  I think alike .  Well , he’s been dead for almost 200 years , but………..Daniel Boone

Ada and I were looking for a free shuttle bus that she said would take us to the shopping area in Szczecin where we were headed . Turns out there actually was one , operated by a big-box store , despite my growing skepticism .Szczecin june 26 016

The shuttle stop was not in the spot where Ada led me . ” They must have moved it ,”  she said , and we headed up the street to another likely spot . But it didn’t seem to be there either . Then she began to ask people for directions . Let me jump ahead a few steps and say that , maybe , just maybe , asking directions as a research method should perhaps be retired . Ask your smart phone where to go , instead . As our friend Mac would say : ” Just sayin’ “.Szczecin june 26 012

Once , a long time ago , my sister Margaret and I were in Dublin looking for a laundromat .  When Ada and I were there in Dublin  years later we looked for a pub with live music , for the Guinness brewery , for an affordable hotel , for St. Stephens green and Trinity College  and the  General Post Office and some other things ; but  , we didn’t look for a laundromat .dublin_irelandDublin irish times

We found the shuttle , by the way , Ada and I , as we left the store . We got to the store on the tram . It isn’t expensive , and we only had to walk a short distance from the tram stop to the store . We  could have taken the shuttle back into the central city had we seen it in time . As it was,  we spotted it after it was taking off . We were about three minutes late for the shuttle , so we walked back to the tram . There was  a free shuttle , though , despite  my doubts . Sometimes my skepticism gets away from me .

Ada had asked shuttle directions from  a man who was waiting for a bus . He pointed up the street and mentioned a bus stop a few blocks up . At that stop Ada asked the next person , a woman waiting for a bus . People waiting for local busses seem to be likely knowers . This helpful woman  pointed down the street ; said something , I guess , about making a left at the corner . Our shuttle stop would be right there .

It wasn’t .

Ada wasn’t giving up . She asked a couple of classily-dressed young women walking along just after we had  made our left turn around the corner . They didn’t know about shuttles . Maybe they said maybe over there . I was obediently following Ada as she wanted ” to try one more place “.   It  was back down near where we’d begun asking directions , but across the main street .  My feet were clopping along in persistent pursuit , but my morale had abandoned me a few hundred yards back . Ada said we’d ask once more .

” You can’t get there from here ,”  is a punchline to an old joke . That line had popped into  my brain and was beginning to taunt  me .Szczecin around town 2014 008

We took the tram , eventually .  No sweat , really .  Beats asking another person who doesn’t know but is willing to try and help the two of us  by giving directions .

Which brings me back to Dublin and looking for the laundromat . My sister and I had been travelling around Britain and Ireland long enough by that point to be a bit grubby . Use of the word ” bit” is a little  self-courtesy and an understatement . Our clothes needed a wash —– let’s just leave it at that .

” Oh , the laundromat …….”  The woman was looking here and there ; thoughtful ; intent .  ” Right . You go over the bridge there …….”  She pointed in that ” wee bit down the road ” Irish point  which could  mean a short distance but more likely meant a hell of a long walk down the road . ” And then , better ask someone , ” she said .

When we found the aforementioned bridge we asked someone . ” Oh . Right .  You go there , over the bridge , ” he said , ” and then best ask anyone . ”  Wide Irish smile ; finger pointing to the side of the bridge from where we had just come . Happy to help a couple of lost tourists . So we waited a few moments , and when our second savior had walked away , we asked a third person .Dublin (2)

” What’s a laundromat ? ” she asked . My sister explained . ” Oh. What you want is a washateria ! ” she said . She was right . What we wanted was a washateria , and she pointed one out to us ; closeby , too ;  no bridge-crossing was involved . The first two direction-givers , happy to help , had no idea what a laundromat was , none whatsoever .  But , of course , we hadn’t asked for the washateria .

I don’t have a smart phone . I certainly don’t have one like my friend Dan’s . His answers him when he voices a question . I doubt whether a smart phone cares enough about you to try to help you out, no matter what ,  when you’re lost . I suspect that if the smart phone doesn’t have the slightest  clue where your intended destination is , it’ll say so .  Something gained and something lost .

Szczecin around town 2014 045




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2 responses to “finding the washateria

  1. If you didn’t mean this to be funny, I’m sorry. Great story and I love the picture of the bridge – great angle.

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