There was a dry cleaning place down the street from us, just a block from where we live. It was not one of those 24-hour services. It could take up to a week to get your stuff back, but the convenient location of the place couldn’t be beat. It was tiny in there, just one room really, and it was run by a nice woman who also did alterations. All in all, a great place to have in your neighborhood.
Except that the woman smoked like a chimney. So you brought a brand new, washed shirt in to have the sleeves shortened. You handed it over, got your slip and watched the shirt being hung on the to-be-worked-on rack. Five days and some hundred cigarettes later you’d get your shirt back with the sleeves just the right length, but smelling of cigarette smoke so bad that you might just as well have been sitting in a smoky pub for six hours straight.
The same would happen to your dry cleaning in case you didn’t pick it up on the day it was ready. Because if you didn’t, your cashmere sweater would also end up hanging in the room where the nice woman sewed away on her little sewing machine, smoking cigarette after cigarette. And when you brought your cashmere sweater home, you’d have to hang it on a door handle, open the windows and let it air out for several days until the smell was gone and the sweater could be worn again.
I was always baffled by this and thought, don’t some people have their clothes dry cleaned BECAUSE they smell of cigarette smoke after a night out on the town? Anyway, it no longer matters because the place closed a few days ago. I guess there weren’t enough people who were willing to keep a local smoky dry cleaner in business.