Every. Single. Time.
They peer at the machines (labelled in French) and the posters of instructions (in French) and the fire-escape instructions (French) and even the change-making machine (guess which language). Then, inevitably, they cheerily ask me for help: "Can you speak English? How does this work?"
And it's great. They are adorable at this. This one even tried to ask in French if I could speak English. But then again, he's the only stranger I've spoken to in months who correctly placed my origin as NY and not England. (My accent --- in English or French --- baffles the French, or they just default to assuming that English-speakers are from England. It's cute? I guess. Bizarre, to my ear.)
Since this happens with such predictable regularity, no matter what day of week I do my laundry, I grow more and more impressed with several (correlated) possibilities:
- Australians visit Paris often;
- Many Australians visit Paris;
- Australians do laundry while travelling (possibly because the remoteness of Australia limits the amount of brought laundry, or lengthens the standard trip duration);
- Australians with no knowledge of the local language nevertheless venture into strange regions and do not let linguistics limit their activities;
... and so on.The Australian launderers are always friendly, happy to chat, enjoying their trip, and pleasantly doing their laundry-chore like responsible adults. My interactions have all been positive, from the retired couple to the various students during (their) summer break, to assorted month-in-Europe travellers who work until they have enough money, then jet around the world, enjoying what it has to offer.
In this season, that seems to be mostly rain.
This post's theme word is enchiridion, "a handbook or manual." An English-language enchiridion at the laundromat would receive daily use.