June 24, 2015's Weekly Slap:

“Beach Slapped” is what it is because from the moment I first came to the Oregon Coast, most every moment I lived here, and even my last hours here, it was always about the beach. That wasn’t always true of my life, and perhaps that’s been my problem.

Growing up in Colorado, I was a long way from the beach. I don’t care what anyone says, lounging next to a giant lake/ civic water supply is not the beach.

BartonGroverHowe.com:Where to keep up with humor writer Barton Grover Howe. Here, you'll find all of his Beach Slapped columns from The News-Times in Lincoln County, Oregon, excerpts from his latest books and the occasional random musing that would get him fired if he published it in a family newspaper.
110 degrees of porn laundry
- August, 2000
Even when you’re traveling to exotic places all the time there are still certain things that need to be done.  Though Lord knows I keep trying, my whole life is not a vacation, which means someone other than my mother is going to have to do my laundry.

Actually, here in Japan this is not as bad as you might imagine.  Most homes here aren’t big enough to have their own washing machines and dryers, so Laundromats are everywhere. Most of them are crammed into little tiny spaces that wouldn’t hold anything else, like molecules.  Land is at a premium, so why waste it on a place where all people are trying to do is hurry up and get out?

Further, the washing machines themselves are small, and they have one water temperature: cool.  Of course, this does solve the problem of having to sort darks and whites and all of that stuff; you don’t.  On the other hand, your whites will never be white again, which presents me with a bit of a quandary.

On the one hand, I try not to bring a lot of white clothes on tour because I can never get them clean.  Yes, they start out white, but gradually they all go gray.  This is a problem in the US, but this country seems to have sped up the process a lot.

The answer would seem to be dark clothes, a logical deduction matched only my decision to invest in e-Toys. For if you wear anything darker than beige here in the summer, your entire body becomes an instant sweat-ball.  Thus, you’re miserable twice as fast, your clothes get stinky twice as fast, and you have to do a lot more laundry.  This is the reason I now wear mainly white paper bags from the department store.  They’re nice and cool, and you can throw them away when you’re done.

            Tragically for my Liz Claiborne shirt, there are only so many places you can wear bags. The other night my friends and I went out to a bar called “Gas Panic,” a fairly popular nightclub for westerners. I was dancing on the bar, and happened to spike my temple on a water pipe, which caused me to bleed all over my nice shirt.  These are the types of things that happen in a country that has yet to be overrun with personal injury lawyers.

            (In the name of decency, it should be noted this bar was here long before the Aum Shiro Cult killed 12 people in a Tokyo subway gas attack about five years ago.  So, the name is not so much tasteless as it is eerily prescient, if that makes you feel any better.)

So, looking to clean my shirt - and let’s face it eventually your clothes do get dirty even when you’re not bleeding on them – my friends and I had to go looking for a Laundromat in Nagoya.  From previous experiences, we expected to find a small, cramped place with no change machine.  We weren’t disappointed.

This one, though, had the added feature of pornographic video games. Now, I have no idea what they did beyond the initial graphic – and I do mean graphic – introduction, because I needed all my change for the laundry. Really.

It was also unlike any of the other laundry places we’d found in that it was about 110 degrees inside with humidity that made the walls drip.  I hadn’t seen anything like it since I was forced to do Jane Fonda’s work-out video in a padded high-school wrestling room.

By the time we left, we knew we’d found a special place in hell; we walked outside onto asphalt in 95-degree heat and 95% humidity and it felt better. Indeed, we smelled so bad, we already had a head start on our next load of laundry.  Of course, this was not altogether a bad thing, as we planned to bring plenty of change next time.  There was a “Space Claw” game in the corner.



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