I worked out yesterday at the downtown Y, and while I was washing my hands at a sink in the women’s locker room, a grey haired woman who might have been around my age was washing out her undies. She had a two-wheeled hand cart with her — the kind New Yorkers use to bring home their groceries — and it looked filled with dirty clothing. I suspect she was going to hand wash it all.
Likely the Y gives complementary memberships to a certain number of homeless women, or those who live in SRO’s with limited laundry and bathing facilities. The Y membership would help a lot. The women’s locker room has a whole bank of hot showers, ditto for sinks. The woman could spend quite awhile washing out her things and not interfere with anyone else using the facilitiies.
I wonder what she does with the wet laundry? They have huge industrial dryers on the same floor, to handle the towels that are provided for those of us who use the exercise floor. But I doubt they let members use the dryers for their wet clothes.
This was a small reminder of how hard life is for people who don’t have some pretty basic things, like access to hot water and a sink and soap. Winter has come to Seattle, and it’s now in the 30’s or low 40’s — reasonably cold. I wonder where this woman goes, when she leaves the warm lobby and bounces her cart down the half dozen stairs, with her cart full of wet clothes.