Moving to Madrid has meant that my summer started way back in March and it’s just got hotter and hotter ever since. My nose is constantly red, but I’m okay with that because it’s a nice rosy pink that tells everybody I’ve been frolicking in the sun rather than the blueish red that accompanies me throughout winter and makes me closely resemble a snotty three-year-old. The Spanish have adapted to this heat and use it to their advantage; the work day stops half way through as it becomes too hot to concentrate, cafes spill out into the streets to allow the sunbathers to continue their basking even when hunger strikes, and they save on electricity by hanging their washing outside their windows on string I like to refer to as the al fresco tumble dryer.
Most of these I am very happy about. I have to walk no more than a few meters before there’s ice cream beckoning me or a patch of grass that I can feel giving me grass stains even before I’ve sat down. However, this whole natural tumble dryer thing has definitely sent me into a spin.
Last week, I wrote about the dramas I have already faced with my fourth story window, (if you missed out on that you can check it out here). Turns out the window wasn’t done.
I like to think of myself as a hygienic person; I dust, I don’t let me hair get greasy (thank you dry shampoo let’s be honest) and I do a lot of laundry. Trying to adapt to my new Spanish lifestyle teamed with the fact that there is no dryer in my apartment, I, like my fellow Madrileños, hang my washing out the window to dry. At first, I was a bit hesitant to hang my delicates out for all to see. I know they’re clean and all but still. However, when I saw my neighbour’s enormous bra flailing about in the wind, I decided that exhibiting one’s underwear to the world might be somewhat liberating. That, and there was already a pair of pants hanging on every hook in my bedroom, I decided to give it a go. I’ve been very careful and haven’t lost a single item to the abyss of the inaccessible courtyard below.
Until Tuesday. There I am hanging lacy pant after lacy pant, taking special care to use the more sturdy of clothes pegs when all of a sudden I see something move out of the corner of my eye. I don’t know what dropped faster, my heart or my pants. Two pairs of pants to be precise. I have found out another of Victoria’s secrets, she doesn’t peg well.
I craned my head over ready for the image of my pants to be laying, lifeless on the ground below me to be etched into my memory.
They weren’t there.
No, even worse than them lying on the floor, they had plopped down onto the windowsill of the flat two floors below me right next to an ash tray. Oh, how fantastic, a windowsill in frequent use. All I could think was what on earth would happen when my pants were found. Can you imagine if some poor man goes over to have a smoke and de-stress and then his wife walks into to find him holding not one but two pairs of frilly knickers that are definitely not hers?
A little perplexed I was about what to do. On one hand, go downstairs and hesitantly knock on the door of the suspected windowsill and have to explain the situation, bearing in mind “underwear”, “windowsill”, “washing line” and “dying of embarrassment” are not phrases that feature in my Spanish vocabulary. On the other hand, have to sacrifice two pairs of Victoria’s finest literally to the under(wear)world. Naturally, I decide to put the decision off and go and have a glass of wine.
Two (or five) glasses later, I return (stumble) back into my bedroom to go and have another look at my pants.
They weren’t there.
Had I had a few more glasses than I’d realised? Probably, but after widening the area my eyes were searching, I spotted a multi-coloured, lacy mess on the ground below. The cheek! They’d actually thrown them off! I suppose that’s what I would have done too, I mean who just lets a pair of someone else’s pants perch on their windowsill? But I still felt like I’d been robbed or something. Maybe I’d go downstairs and present myself as the owner, a very pissed (in both senses of the word) pant-less owner. With that thought, I put myself to bed and decided to approach the situation sober in the morning. But guess what.
They weren’t there.
This is where this story turns from a light-hearted little story about this week’s bizarre situation, to a desperate plea to all of you both in Madrid and across the world. If anyone comes to you with a story of how they found a pair of Victoria’s Secret underwear, one green and one of a more tropical persuasion, they’re mine and I’d really like them back. Also accepting brand new pairs of underwear as tokens of sympathy and/or consolidation. Thanks in advance.
As a wise Michael McIntyre once said, pants down, I am the loser.
‘Till next week