What the Buddha Taught About Laundry


If you’ve read some of my previous posts you know that I consider myself truly blessed in life.  Many amazing things have come my direction, my latest way of life as case in point.  While I try to maintain my awe and appreciation of the grace in my life, please know that I don’t think these things came only by luck.  I have worked very hard to be where I am.  I put in the time.  I read the books.  I did the reports and experiments and went to class.  I attained the degrees and worked to find the jobs.  My marriage takes effort which I try to give it daily and my children, well, they are a continuous work in progress as well.  In short,  I’ve shown up for life and life has rewarded me.

Yesterday, I showed up for laundry.

I suppose I should back up a bit.  We spent about two weeks in George Town in the Exumas where there is a fabulous boating community which makes it easy to be there and hard to leave.  If you’ve followed our sailing path you already know that we took a short trip east to Long Island last week before returning to George Town to wait out some weather.

The goal in that trip was to continue the adventure as best we could while the weather was telling us not to move far.  Also, we wanted to be sure the infamous George Town Roots weren’t penetrating our boat as our dream of sailing the Caribbean continues.  Those roots have been known to sink many a good sail plan, but that’s a story for another day.  Our time in Long Island was very nice.  We took on extra crew (aka my kids’ 7 year old friend) from s/v Britican and our buddy boat in the crossing was s/v Aqua Bob carrying her usual crew along with the crew of s/v Pura Vida, bringing the flotilla to a grand total of 12 (6 adults, 6 kids).

We were quite the bunch!  The island is beautiful and the people are happy, generous, kind, and very accepting of us cruisers.  The provisioning surpassed that available in George Town.  All together, it was a wonderful experience and we decided to return to Long Island as soon as we were able.  It now will be our launching point for the next stage of our eastward trek.

Thompson Bay in the middle of the 76 mile long island is where you find the most amenities especially for cruisers.  This is where we have dropped anchor on our return voyage.  The first evening back was spent with s/v Rondo which included lots of good food and fun company!  The next day was filled with provisioning and laundry and general prep for moving to the north tip of the island from which we will sail further southeast.  Laundry is where our story takes its turn.  Laundry is an enormous undertaking when your home floats on salty water in strange lands.  When we first left land, laundry was done by hand using a plunger and a large trash can.  That Herculean effort lasted for two tries, never to be repeated unless we are in the middle of the Pacific, as far as I’m concerned.  I don’t care how much we smell.  The tendinitis and backache definitely are not worth the semi-clean shorts!  In the States, many of us are blessed with machines right there in our own house, affording comfort, ease, privacy, and certainly minimal physical exertion to complete a full weeks’ worth of laundry.  And just a weeks’ worth—what I wouldn’t give to have so little laundry to do!  Aboard MarVyn we tend to wear everything we own, sometimes twice, before we get laundry done.  Please put away your self-righteous disgust and realize that to get laundry done typically requires nearly an entire day and about $40.  I look back with tears in my eyes on my days of our high efficiency, high capacity, low noise, multi-function, front-loading, sienna-and-rose swirled finish, lollipop included kind of laundry machines tucked neatly into a custom built cabinet in my single-level, unmoving, wind-free, very dry home on land.  George Town’s laundry offerings were less than desirable, so we postponed until this second trip to Long Island, knowing from our last excursion that they had laundry facilities.  I had four enormous bags to take ashore by the time yesterday morning arrived, and our research had revealed that the laundry facility on Long Island recently had closed down.  Enter Tiny’s Hurricane Hole Resort/Bar/Restaurant.  IMG_1620We found this paradise close by in the bay we had anchored in and they now are the only laundry show in town.  Knowing I might have to jockey for position, I started calling them early in the day (8:45 am to be precise—NO ONE gets going that early in the Bahamas!).  Finally my calls were answered at about 11:30 and I was told, “No problem! Laundry is available, and you can come over now if you want.”  Oh, I wanted.  I wanted bad.  So we loaded the dinghy with laundry like it was Santa’s sleigh and we made for Tiny’s, landing shortly after their opening hour of noon. My heavily-loaded shoulders slumped to find that I was third in line already for the two washers and two dryers.  It would be a long day, but the truly tiny resort was beautiful, had a small beach with games and toys, hammocks, and, as it turns out, an amazing bar and restaurant.  I had brought my running clothes and my book as I figured I might have some time on my hands.  My run was delayed, though, at the arrival on the scene of Godzilla.  She came in with two bags of laundry and when she saw the line she flung them at my feet, yelled at me that she wasn’t about to wait her turn and she would be taking the machines next.  She then breathed fire on the resort, sending the huts up in flames and people running, screaming for their lives.  Actually, she did yell at me that I would have to wait for her because she wasn’t going to wait in line, and then turned to the other women there, all cruisers who had been in the bay for a few weeks or more, and began to unload on them her belief that this island is terrible and it’s being ruined by all these new cruisers (such as myself) coming in here thinking they can just use these facilities like the rest of the cruisers, and so on, and so forth, for about twenty minutes.  I stood outside the laundry room listening closely, thinking maybe I had broken some unwritten cruiser or facility rule, so I humbly walked to the bar to clear with staff that I had proceeded in an appropriate fashion.  The bartender laughed sardonically, then sighed and rolled her eyes and assured me she would take care of it.  She walked to the laundry room to inform Godzilla that she would need to wait just like the rest of us.  Godzilla was not happy but appeared to understand she needed to change course.  With her tiny lizard arms she slammed the screen door open, pulled her tail around behind her with great effort, and then approached me, snarling, her nostrils trailing tendrils of smoke.  Now, do you remember that I mentioned I had brought my book?  The title is What The Buddha Taught and it’s a guide to Siddhartha’s teachings.  Ironically, I hadn’t even cracked the spine yet, but I decided I would need to draw upon its implied wisdom at this point.  I took a deep breath and calmly, peacefully, but firmly informed her that I would not be leaving, that my laundry would stay in line just as it had been, and I asked her to consider a new approach.  What I didn’t do was hit her.  Probably a good choice, I suppose.  But not an easy one.  Realizing her fight was only going to be internal, she snatched up her bag, yelled one more cruel thing over her shoulder at me, and stormed off the beach to her dinghy and left the island reeling in her wake.  Immediately the other women descended upon me to comfort me and reassure me that the rest of them weren’t like that.  While this was certainly kind and appreciated, it was not necessary.  My Buddha and I were already entwined in a comfortable embrace.  Besides, my laundry was going to get done!!

As it turns out, Rondo and MarVyn had drinks and dinner together at Tiny’s last night and a fabulous time was had by all.  I spent eight hours at that little spot, took a run, communed with the Buddha, and was able to release the nastiness Godzilla had brought to my life.  In the end I left with a humorous story, a full belly, good friends, happy kids and husband, and lots of clean laundry to put away.  But for you land-based folks, please don’t ever take your laundry for granted again.  It’s a mean business out here in the rest of the world, but if you show up for it, and work to keep your Buddha balance, life and laundry will reward you.

16 thoughts on “What the Buddha Taught About Laundry”

  1. I would never have doubted that my daughter, who intimidated the boys on the soccer field at age 10, who left traditional high school a year early to study with international students far from home, who boldly faced her father’s death while enduring the 5th year of surgical residency, who completed yet another medical residency while pregnant, who tore into the remodeling of an old home and did her share of the dirty work in building a new home in the mountains, who drove a tractor in the dark during snow storms to remove snow in order to get to work, who, along with her equally fearless husband has embarked upon this amazing journey, the stories about which leave most people in total awe, and has faced countless challenges head-on….COULD HANDLE GODZILLA WITHOUT FLINCHING! Each of your blogs is more interesting that the last. Happy sailing and wishes for clean, happy and peaceful laundry experiences!


  2. Erin, I so enjoy your post. Thank you as I sit here on the sofa knowing I have to get up as I have such a chore to walk 15 feet to move the towels from the washer to the dryer! 😊The least you could have done to demonstrate your Southern way was offer Godzilla a Tide Pod! Recent news reports indicate it quiets upon intake! Crazy fad!
    I hope your travels continue to be safe and enjoyable. CHEERS! ❤️🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Do you have a desalinator? If so what is the rate? Sound great:)). I have a friend doing a delivery from Annapolis to Fort Lauderdale going around battery’s now with ice on the decks. So gird your loins and fight the monsters, your still in a better place.


    1. Our place is quite good and we’re loving it despite the occasional Godzilla!
      (We have a reverse osmosis water maker which produces about 20 gal/hr. Unfortunately no washing machine!)


  4. i need to quote you back to you right now. tears in my eyes trying to giggle quietly as some are still asleep…

    “When we first left land, laundry was done by hand using a plunger and a large trash can. That Herculean effort lasted for two tries, never to be repeated unless we are in the middle of the Pacific, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t care how much we smell. The tendinitis and backache definitely are not worth the semi-clean shorts! “


  5. “tiny lizard arms” hahaha!! loved this one yer. thanks for bringing it all back into perspective for us washing-machine owning luckies. you are totally and completely right. i’m so so glad you didn’t get charred to the crisp while trying to get fully-clean shorts. LOVE


  6. Erin,
    That gonzilla woman got her first challenge! Way to go. Proud of you but knew it would end well!!! Love your post! Be safe. Xoxo


  7. Hey from Robin Cope Knupp in Asheville. I’m seeing like 6 blog titles over on the right side of your page. Are there more? a friend taking sailing lessons would be interested.

    I don’t wash my clothes unless they stink or actually have dirt on them. It seems like sizable boats would at least have some sort of hand crank washer, or one that would turn with water or wind power. Your fresh water maker is putting out plenty of water, which is nice, I bet. My friends living in an RV take a shower about every 5th day to conserve in the desert where they are parked.


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