Poor Execution

I had to go into David this morning to pick up the license plate for the Orange Arrow. With that done I walked a couple of blocks to a hardware store to pick up some fastenings to attach the plate, a lock and wire device so I can fasten my helmet to the cycle when I go into a store or have to leave it unattended, and a blue tarp to cover the washing machine I bought yesterday.

That’s right, a washing machine. The house in Potrerillos Arriba had a washer and dryer though I always hung the clothes to dry on a line. There are few smells nicer than clothes that have been dried in the sunshine. I did use the dryer but not for its intended use. What I used it for was to store my notebook computer and my cameras when I was out of the house. I had an old notebook computer that was sort of a decoy if thieves should break into the house, but I’d put the good computer and the cameras into the dryer and cover them with a couple of sheets to hide them. Fortunately in the 15 months I lived in the house no one ever broke in so I don’t know if the ruse would have been effective or not.

There’s no washer at the house here in Boquerón, or at least not before 4:30 yesterday afternoon. The closest laundromat is about 15 miles away and there’s just no way I was going to lug my dirty laundry that far on a bus. Now don’t go thinking I’ve been walking around for the last six months in dirty, smelly clothes. And I’m not like a guy I know in Florida. Ken (not his real name) came from a rather well-to-do family but Ken had a substance abuse problem. He’d wear a set of clothes for two or three days, drop in at a friend’s house to take a shower and then go to a store and buy an entirely new set of clothes for the next couple of days. No, I dropped back 20 years to when I was out cruising on my beloved, long-departed Nancy Dawson. I did my laundry in a 5-gallon bucket agitating the clothes vigorously with a toilet plunger. (For the curious, it was bought unused at the Do It Center specifically for the purpose of washing clothes.)

Believe it or not, folks, this form of laundering clothes works quite well, and pumping that plunger up and down for 10 or 15 minutes gives you a bit of a workout. The key to getting the clothes clean is a good long soak prior to applying the plunger. If you think about it, you’re doing exactly the same thing a washing machine is doing. There’s no magic involved with a washing machine. Tiny little laundry elves don’t mysteriously appear out of no where and pick out pieces of dirt and grime embedded in the clothing and make the stuff disappear though elves do have a fondness for stockings which is why one is missing every so often from a batch of laundry. The problem with this method of doing laundry is that it’s really a pain doing your jeans and large items like sheets and bath towels. Plus rinsing them to get rid of all the soapy water in the clothes isn’t easy and often results in stiff stuff.

Actually this post wasn’t intended to be about my washing machine, but you’ll have to forgive me. I suffer from ADOLAP! Disorder. For those of you unfamiliar with such afflictions that’s Attention Deficit, Oh Look A Puppy! Disorder.

No, when I was headed back to the bus terminal from the hardware store I stumbled across something that caught my eye. As I’ve said before, one of the few things that distresses me about the Panamanian people is the way they treat their beautiful country like a giant trash can. There is crap everywhere!

Some people obviously have their hearts in the right place in regards to this national disgrace but their execution of a solution is somewhat lacking.

I may be wrong, but I think this would have been more effective had there been a bottom attached. Or maybe whoever put it there is a basketball fanatic and figured people would try and score two points with their trash rather than dumping it on the ground somewhere else.

On the other hand, someone had a creative solution for disposing of their trash in the same area…


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One response to “Poor Execution

  1. Andres Espino Dennison

    I too use the 5 gallon bucket washing machine with a few improvements.. a PVC sleeve in the middle of the lid to guide the plunger and I made a companion wringer following a youtube article that also used a bucket see about that here.. and it works great

    I’d seen your video a while back. Very good. The only thing I did to improve my setup was to attach the plunger head to a paint roller pole so I could stand up while churning away. As I said, it works quite well, but the washing machine does a better rinse job leaving the clothes softer.