The day before yesterday was “laundry day” at my house. And so was the day before that. And, actually, a couple of days previous to that one, too. Laundry is a never-ending task. There are only three people in my family, and yet, it seems I do laundry all the time. All. The. Time. I think Dante had it all wrong, with his circles of hell. Surely, at least one of them consists of some poor woman, stooped and worn, who is destined to spend eternity yanking heavy , wet clothes out of a washer and flinging them into a dryer. Like some perpetual rinse cycle … always knowing she will never complete her task. Then again, Dante was a man. He probably didn’t wash his own clothes — especially back in the day when he was kicking around the planet. He was probably too busy “creating” … and stuff.
I blame my family. Not for Dante; even they can’t take responsibility for that guy. But for my own laundry hell. My family has this unholy fascination with wearing clean clothes. Especially underwear and socks. They want clean clothes Every Damn Day. What is up with that? It borders on obsession, really. I am beginning to think it’s all a bit unhealthy — for me, in particular.
Dirty clothes are finicky. You would think they’d be happy just getting clean. Not only that, but they get to have fun doing it. If you think about it, the whole wash/dry experience is like a water park ride and relaxing sauna, all in one. You would think clothes would be grateful. But … no. Some things have to wash on hot, and some only on cold. Some always dry too much, so you have to check all during the dry cycle to make sure they don’t wrinkle or shrink. Certain things can’t be washed with each other. And there is always that one piece of clothing left out at the end of everything. You know the one. It has to go on the gentle cycle and can only wash when birds are singing and there’s a rainbow outside the window. Even if all these factors collide into perfect washing conditions, I’m still left with the inescapable fact that this is a lone piece of clothing. I can’t justify wasting water to wash just one top or pair of pants, no matter how much I try to convince myself otherwise. And so, it goes back into the laundry bin. I give up any hope of ever wearing it again, and it lurks there in the darkness at the bottom of the bin, mocking me with the knowledge that I’ll never, ever, ever manage to get all the laundry Done. I’ll never finish, and I can look forward into time and see washing day after washing day, all lined up and waiting for me. Gives me the shivers, just thinking about it.
(I could, of course, hand wash the darn thing. But … no. Washing machines were invented for a reason. I’m not a heathen.)
The funny thing is, everyone has opinions on laundry and how it should be done. If I let it pile up and up, my mother scolds me for being lazy and letting it go too long. (Yes, I’m 46, and my mother still scolds me. I’m trying to live with this knowledge, but it isn’t easy.) When I decide to stay on top of this most-hated task, my husband tells me I’m wasting my time with laundry, instead of doing “more important” things. He says I should leave it until I have a whole day’s worth to do at once. A whole, entire day spent doing laundry — wow, what fun! Not. Of course, my husband has never offered to do the laundry for me. I feel this shows a lack of conviction on his part. It’s not that I’m ungrateful for his sage advice. But, if your system really is better, then put your money where your mouth is. Let’s see it in operation, preferably with anyone other than me at the washing machine controls. This never happens.
Socks and underwear are the worst. I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate washing, drying, and folding socks and underwear. Every time I have to do it, my soul dies a little bit. I think socks and underwear breed in the washer. If I listen hard enough, I swear I can hear them giggling in there, and I know naughty things are happening. Socks and underwear don’t deserve a day at the water park followed by a nice, relaxing sauna. They are the renegades of the laundry world, and aren’t worthy of having nice things. I feel they constantly take advantage of my kindness. There always seem to be more of them at the end of the drying process than what I dumped into the washer. (Because of the breeding, I’m sure.) They all stick together, and not in a positive and life-affirming way. And the socks never want to match up. No matter how careful I am when putting them into the wash, no matter how hard I try to pay attention and make sure each sock has a mate, I’m always left with at least one odd-ball, unmatched sock at the end. Always. I think my dryer is a portal to another dimension. A dimension where some unfortunate being sits around wondering why I keep sending him/her all my socks. This is the only explanation.
No … really.