Ben in Hong Kong©

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Laundry Language

With me going to America, returning, and now having a washing machine, someone has been missing me lots.

That someone is the laundry lady.

For 9 months I faithfully visited the laundry lady sometimes twice a week. She never understood a word I said and I never understood a word that she said. But her and her metal toothed husband (like something from jaws) always laughed and smiled/reflected dazzling light everytime I dropped off my dirty socks. It was a happy little arrangement.

So I returned today after looking at my pile of washing, then at my washing machine, and then at the clock. When I walked in the laundry lady lit up. That is when we had our conversation.

She said: Where the hell have you been!
I replied: I have been traveling and have only just got back (i could not mention the washing machine)
She said: Ahhh I see, me and my husband have been wondering where you have been! (she pointed to her husband)
I said: Don't worry, I will be visiting more now!
She said: Oh ok then, but your laundry bag on the scale
(I put laundry bag on scale)
She said: Ayyyyya, wow you have lots of dirty stuff!
I said: I know, i have not done the laundry for a while!

I'm not sure whether that is the precise translation of the conversation. Because she was speaking Cantonese, and I was speaking English. What is strange though is that if I had someone who could translate the back and forth between us, I really do think it would have been pretty much what I wrote above.

Me and the laundry lady, a relationship beyond mere language...


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