Doing laundry is one of those universally onerous tasks that nobody likes. Except me. It's a guilty pleasure. I find it relaxing. I like the hum of the washer and the rhythmic rattle of the dryer. I like the humid, soapy atmosphere and the challenge of choosing between the blue goop or the newfangled detergent pellet. I get some of my best thinking done as the repetitive motions of smoothing and folding free up my mind. I don't know if I would feel the same way if I had to thrash and dredge my unmentionables in the hot sun along the Ganges, competing for a bit of clear rinse water with countless other hapless laundresses, but from the vantage point of my laundry room, it's not all that bad. I must have retained some Industrial Revolutionary imprint on my psyche because I still marvel when a machine does a job for me. Doing laundry isn't really work; it's just a sort, dump, pour, and button pressing type of operation. Kind of a mechanical miracle, when you think about it. In goes a dirty twisted bit and out comes your favorite shirt. My tolerance for doing laundry might also have a more primal origin. One of my earliest memories is being in the basement with my mother as she did laundry. It was dark, safe and warm. Gosh, almost womb-like. Must be why the only way we could get our youngest daughter to sleep when she was an infant was to set her on top of the dryer and turn it on full blast. Now that I think of it, it's lucky I had daughters. All the more laundry for me to enjoy doing. They're both inveterate thrift shoppers, and fastidious, too. Once they wear an outfit for a few hours, they change into another and pop the first one in the hamper. Now that they're home from college the pile of 'dirty' clothes is astounding. The machines have been running for a week straight, and my button pressing finger is wearing out. The pile reminds me of one of those salads...you know, the ones where the more you eat away at it the bigger it seems to get. And they've devised a clever system...see the 2nd photo above? It's the clean pile! They just grab what they need from it, instead of taking the folded clothes back to their rooms and putting them away. This way, the clean pile topples, everything comes unfolded and blends in with the dirty laundry. Even more fun for me. Was it Betty Friedan who suggested that housework arbitrarily expands to fill the empty hours of housewives? She was dead wrong. It expands, alright, but not arbitrarily. I guess she didn't have daughters*. Certainly not dogs.
Anyone else share my love/hate relationship with laundry?
*Thanks to the above mentioned daughters for allowing me to use them for comic effect. They are both slowly but surely learning the joys of doing their own laundry. The dogs are another matter.
Sue/the view from great island